Prime Minister Theresa May seeks international action to stamp out modern slavery when she brought together leaders, representatives of international organisations and experts in the margins of the UN General Assembly…reports Asian Lite News
The British prime minister said international co-operation is needed to eradicate modern slavery. She seeks a similar pattern to stem drugs trafficking and other organised crime.
“Strong law enforcement action and legislative framework is needed to stem modern slavery,” said Mrs May in her speech. “Reducing vulnerability and supporting victims; tackling transparency in supply chains and effective international cooperation can stem modern day slavery.”
“It is estimated that there are up to 45 million victims of modern slavery worldwide. A cross jurisdiction crime – just like the trafficking of drugs, it is run by criminal groups that evade prosecution because law enforcement face the obvious challenges brought about by criminals networking across borders either physically or via the internet.
“That’s why we need world leaders to challenge their respective law enforcement to join forces with others and come down hard on the organised crime groups and free victims of modern day slavery. This will require joint investigations, data and intelligence sharing and multilateral prosecutions. We know that increased co-operation across borders delivers results with long sentences for the perpetrators and freedom with recompense through the seizure of criminal assets for victims.
“The UK is leading the world with our efforts to stamp out modern slavery,” she added. “Just over a year since the Modern Slavery Act came into force, convictions are up, more victims are getting support and there are more police investigations into this abhorrent crime. But there is still much more to do. Across the world an estimated 45 million people are enduring experiences that are simply horrifying in their inhumanity. That’s why I am determined to drive forward international action to eradicate modern slavery.
“Just as the criminals cross borders, so we need a radical new approach that crosses borders – sharing intelligence and joining up investigations. This is standard in the case of drugs trafficking and the trade in illegal firearms and there is no excuse for our law enforcement authorities failing to do this when it comes to modern slavery.
“We owe it to the innocent men, women and children who are being tricked into a life of hard labour and abuse to rid our world of this evil. Just as it was Britain that took an historic stand to ban slavery two centuries ago, I am determined that the United Kingdom will once again lead the way in defeating modern slavery and preserving the freedoms and values that have defined our country for generations.
“One year on from the Modern Slavery Act which has set an international benchmark to which other jurisdictions aspire, the government is now pioneering a more co-ordinated policy and operational response with a new taskforce to be chaired by the Prime Minister.The new taskforce aims to do more to bring perpetrators to justice and to support victims both domestically and overseas with the focus on 4 specific objectives:
- bring efforts and resources targeted at modern slavery in line with resources to tackle other forms of organised crime – including by increase investigatory resource, capabilities and intelligence provision – bringing these
- increase and improve investigations into the perpetrators of modern slavery, through further education of law enforcement officers on the nature of modern slavery offences; the provision of additional tools to support investigations such as greater data and intelligence; and more effective use of joint investigation teams;
- improve successful prosecution levels with further education of prosecuting authorities on modern slavery, and improvements to the quality of supporting evidence.
- improve international cooperation to tackle modern slavery.
The membership of the taskforce has crucially been designed to help drive forward the operational response with an unusually high number of intelligence and policing experts joining Ministers around the table.
“The heads of all three intelligence agencies, Mi5, Mi6 and GCHQ, along with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the head of Europol, the Secretary General of Interpol, the head of the Gang-masters Licensing Authority, and a number of senior police officers from up and down the country will be invited to attend meetings as required. They will be joined by key practitioners in this field such as Caroline Haughey, a barrister with a proven track record of successfully prosecuting slave drivers.
“Alongside the taskforce, the government has also earmarked £33 million from the UK aid budget to tackle modern slavery in high risk countries, where we know victims are regularly trafficked to the UK.”
The Prime Minister also announced the creation of an additional £5 million fund to be spent in Nigeria. The fund is to working with authorities to strengthen Nigerian anti-trafficking agencies and reduce vulnerability of those at risk of being trafficked, particularly in areas like Edo state, Nigeria’s key trafficking hub. The United Nations has warned that 80% of Nigerian women who arrived in Italy this year will be trafficked into prostitution.