Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Chloe Smith meeting with The Magdalene Group to learn more about Modern Day Slavery in Norwich

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 23 September 2014 13:07

Chloe Smith (2)

MP continues local fact-finding mission as she scrutinises crucial new legislation on modern day slavery


Chloe Smith, Member of Parliament for Norwich North, has met Norwich's The Magdalene Group to discuss sexual exploitation as an aspect of modern slavery.

Chloe spoke in the first debate in Parliament on the Bill and has sat on the Committee scrutinising the Bill during September.


Chloe met The Magdalene Group to learn more first-hand about sexual exploitation as a form of modern slavery, including their groundbreaking work through the ROSE Project to combat exploitation online.


The Magdalene Group is a charity that supports women working in the sex-industry in Norfolk and victims of Child Sexual Exploitation - both forms of modern slavery that take place in Norwich and across Britain today.


The Magdalene Group provides an asylum seeking group for women who are often traumatised and bewildered as a result of their trafficking ordeal. One girl who left Albania after refusing to marry a much older man was battered by her father and ostracised from the family, being vulnerable and with nowhere to live she was targeted by a male who trafficked her to Spain, where she was kept in a brothel for 9 months before making her escape to the UK.   Now aged 23 and with a child as a result of her ordeal she is seeking to rebuild her life. The befriending that The Magdalene Group offers helps her rebuild her confidence and feel valued in order to manage her everyday life.


Chloe comments:   “Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society.  The Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, represents an historic opportunity to get new legislation on the statute books and reflects a real determination in Britain to lead the global fight against this evil. 


“No one should tolerate slavery and human trafficking within, or into the UK.  I have contributed in detail to this legislation so that it stands to make it easier to stop exploitation, gain prosecution, hand down tough sentences including life imprisonment, and to get reparation to victims. 


“We know from past cases in Norfolk that there can be exploitation and abuse under the surface of modern life in Britain.  The Magdalene Group is an effective, forward thinking local charity that gets help to where it is needed.


“I am keen to bring the insight of local charities to bear as the Bill progresses through Parliament.” 



Suzi Heybourne, CEO of The Magdalene Group comments: “Sexual Exploitation and coercion is such a multifaceted crime and it takes time to build up trust and change behaviour to ultimately improve outcomes for victims.”


The Modern Day Slavery Bill legislation would give law enforcers the powers they need while enhancing protection for victims by:

  • allowing the courts to give life sentences to perpetrators;

  • creating a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner to ensure law enforcers are doing all they can to tackle this crime;

  • allowing assets seized from perpetrators to be used more often to provide reparation to victims; and

  • providing a defence in law for victims of modern slavery who have been forced to commit other offences.

In recent weeks Chloe has:

·         Met Norfolk farmers along with Anglian Farmers and NFU representatives

·         Met Charities operating locally including the Samaritans and Barnardo’s, which can be the refuge of those trying to escape slavery

·         Met Campaigning groups including Stop the Traffik and UK Feminista

·         Chloe has also recently met with Aneeta Prem of Norwich-based Freedom Charity, a leading expert on modern day slavery

·         She has received briefing from Norfolk Constabulary