The Modern Slavery Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.
The Modern Slavery Bill was published on 10 June 2014. It will strengthen the response of law enforcement and the courts by:
- Consolidating and simplifying existing modern slavery offences into one Act. Currently modern slavery and trafficking offences are spread across a number of different Acts. The Bill fixes this, providing much needed clarity and focus and making the law easier to apply.
- Increasing the maximum sentence available for the most serious offenders from 14 years to life imprisonment, with those who have a previous conviction for a serious sexual or violent offence facing an automatic life sentence.
- Introducing Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders to restrict the activity of individuals where they pose a risk of causing harm.
- Creating a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a vital post that will drive an improved and more coordinated law enforcement response at all levels, working in the interests of victims.
- Ensuring that perpetrators convicted of slavery or trafficking face the toughest asset confiscation regime.
- Strengthening law enforcement powers at sea to close loopholes which prevent the police and Border Force being able to act where it is suspected that human trafficking or forced labour is taking place on board vessels at sea.
The Government published a number of factsheets explaining the measures in the Bill on 29 August 2014.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s parliamentary briefings on the Bill are available on the Commission’s website.
In July 2016 the Government published a ‘one year on’ review of the Act. This independent review by barrister Caroline Haughey was commissioned by the Home Secretary.