Repeal the Human Rights Act? Slavery arrests another reason to think again

Slavery in modern day Britain? Sadly, it does not beggar belief. This morning we woke to terrible reports that 24 people appear to have been held in appalling and squalid conditions in Bedfordshire and forced to work for years with no pay. Police reports suggest that many of the victims are extremely vulnerable and on the margins of our society - easy prey for those who would exploit them. Some of them may have been imprisoned for as long as 15 years.

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Article 4: No slavery or forced labour

In the 21st century the term ‘slavery’ is most commonly associated with William Wilberforce, the reforming British politician who lobbied for the abolition of the slave trade 200 years ago. But for many, far from being the stuff of history books and Hollywood films, slavery in modern Britain is a frightening reality.

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Slavery law Liberty lobbied for in action

Incredibly, up until April last year it wasn’t actually a criminal offence in this country to hold another person in slavery or servitude. Thanks in part to lobbying by Liberty, such modern day slavery was finally outlawed, with a new offence brought into English law through the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. This week, in London, we saw one of the first convictions under this new legislation that we campaigned so hard for.

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Article 4: No slavery or forced labour

We must never be treated like slaves or made to work against our will – and authorities must always fully investigate suspected slavery.

Forced labour

Slavery is prohibited under the Human Rights Act. But until 2009 the UK did not have a criminal law dedicated to the particular circumstances of forced labour and servitude, and victims were falling through the gap.

Justice for victim of modern-day slavery

28 May 2010

Liberty today welcomed a jury’s decision to convict the employer of a Liberty client who had been subjected to forced domestic labour for over two and half years.

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Government concede modern day slavery legal gap

28 October 2009

The Government today conceded the need to criminalise forced labour and servitude. Parliament was expected to vote this afternoon on an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill that would make servitude and forced labour an offence in the UK for the first time.

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Crucial vote expected on Monday: Will modern slavery be outlawed?

23 October 2009

Parliament is expected to vote on an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill on Monday that, if passed, will make servitude and forced labour an offence in the UK for the first time.

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Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken MacDonald QC, joins with Liberty & Anti-Slavery International to push for slavery law

08 July 2009

Parliament is due to debate an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill tomorrow that will make servitude and forced labour an offence in the UK.

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