Forced into prostitution. Forced into work to pay off a debt. Forced into marriage. These are some of the horrific scenarios faced by the estimated 45 million victims of modern slavery around the world today — and the UK is no exception, with 5,145 potential victims of modern slavery recorded here in 2017.
Even after escaping slavery, survivors still face many barriers to getting their lives back on track. They need long-term assistance, but right now, survivors in England and Wales are only guaranteed 45 days of government support — leaving victims at risk of falling into poverty, becoming homeless, and vulnerable to being re-trafficked.
Since April, Global Citizens have called on their MPs to help change the law, by voting for the ‘Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill’ which proposes to give survivors a guaranteed 12 months of protection. But as it stands, there’s almost no chance that this issue will be debated by MPs.
The UK has previously shown leadership in tackling modern slavery. In 2015, the government introduced one of the first laws in the world to tackle modern servitude, forced labour and human trafficking. Now the government must show us that they are still committed to helping survivors of this horrific crime, by ensuring that the ‘Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill’ is given the time it needs to be debated by MPs and become law.
Call on Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Sajid Javid to tackle modern slavery, and advocate a change in the law to give victims more support.