How can we use political engagement to bring about an end to Modern Slavery and Exploitation? What political actions can you take to end Modern Slavery and Exploitation?
The UK Government has a responsibility to those people who have been trafficked and exploited in the UK. These people are often the most vulnerable in our society, and at present survivors of exploitation are often left with very minimal support. You can take political actions that push government to change this for the better!
When attempting to understand Modern Slavery, (Human Trafficking and Exploitation) it is important to understand that from a slave trader’s perspective the people they are selling, transporting and exploiting are a commodity. A product to be sold at the highest price with the lowest possible risk. As a result, traders manipulate and take people from situations of vulnerability and transport them to locations where the most profit can be made from their sale and exploitation.
When attempting to make political change that supports victims and prevents slavery, it is important to remember that exploitation is driven by a desire to make money. Because of this the government policies put in place should always work to ensure that the UK is the most uninviting place to traffic and exploit people, with the highest level of victim support.
What can we do?
- Slavery prospers in areas where the most money can easily be made through the sale of people. We must work to make market for slavery as economically uninviting as possible, where profit is low and the likelihood of prosecution and criminal sentencing is high. This can be done by increasing awareness of slavery in the general public, along with ensuring that prison sentences are as long as possible for those caught trafficking and exploiting people.
We need to make the UK a place where traffickers feel it is not economically worthwhile to traffic people and exploit them. If we want to end slavery around the world, we need to push for governments to be as harsh as possible in the prosecution of traffickers, exploiters and slave owners. The harsher the laws against slavery and exploitation in ant given country, the easier is to deter and prosecute traffickers and slave users. Change to current laws can only take place through political action and pressure from the public to make this a government priority.
- Work to ensure that vulnerable people and communities are aware of the techniques of manipulation that traffickers use to trick people into willingly go with them. In most cases, vulnerable people are tricked by traffickers into believing that they are going to a new well payed job in a rich country. It is only when they arrive in this foreign land that slavery and exploitation begins. With no friends, family or understanding of the language and culture, these vulnerable people are locked into their slavery, believing they have no way out, and feel they have no choice but stay. In some cases blackmail is used to force victims into staying within their exploitation through threatening to hurt their family members back home. In other cases the victims are kept in such isolation that there is no way to contact the outside world and ask for help.
Learn more about the struggles survivors of modern slaver face in the following article by the Independent: “Home Office announces repayment for slavery victims after it unlawfully cut their support.”
UK campaign for the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill:
- The Victim Support Bill is a proposed law that would, if voted for in Parliament, change the current legal support system in place for survivors of modern slavery.
- This bill is designed to provide proper support to survivors of modern slavery in England and Wales. “Unlike victims of modern slavery in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the law in England and Wales currently does not give victims a right to support.” (Free for Good)
- Currently, the support for modern slavery victim is limited to a short period of 45 days, or the time it takes for the police to determine if someone is a victim of modern slavery. After this, most victims are left without support and expected to fend for themselves. Very often, victims are highly vulnerable and are at risk of homelessness, and/or falling back into exploitation. The current lack of protection for modern slavery victims means that they are often viewed through the context of their immigration status, and not as a victims of a serious crime in need of protection and support. This new bill will change this law. Ensuring that victims of modern slavery and exploitation have access to the proper long term support.
- In order for the Bill to get through parliament and be made law, it needs to be seen as having public support. You can show your support for the bill by contacting/writing to your Member of Parliament. Please click here to contact your MP today.
- You can also access JPIT’s Meet Your MP resources to find out more in how you can, as a church community, start a conversation with your MP about the issues that matter to you