On 18th July 2023, it was confirmed that the Illegal Migration Bill will soon become law, after attempts to further amend the Bill in the House of Lords failed. Amendments to mitigate the harm that will be caused to modern slavery victims and survivors were voted down, with the only concessions granted by the Government being a time limit on how long children and pregnant women will be allowed to be detained, and that the legislation will not be enforced retrospectively.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of increased risks and vulnerability to those in modern slavery, the Government brought forward the Illegal Migration Bill without consulting with the anti-human trafficking sector.
In our opinion, this legislation will have the unintended consequence of making the most vulnerable individuals, who have been trafficked and are victims of modern slavery, even more vulnerable.
This Bill will make it easier for traffickers to operate with impunity.
We would like to thank all organisations and parliamentarians who sought to bring forward amendments to mitigate this Bill in respect of modern slavery.
At Hope for Justice, we will continue to fight for legislation and policy which is evidence-based, compliant with international law, prevents exploitation, protects survivors, and ensures that perpetrators are held accountable.
We want to live in a world free from slavery and we will do all in our power to support legislation to achieve that.