Protecting the vulnerable

Talk of modern day slavery can seem anachronistic – surely this is something that happened long ago and far away – but across the country, vulnerable people still suffer appalling abuse from “employers” they cannot escape. Liberty is acting for one such victim, a woman who not only endured years of physical and verbal abuse and repeated rape, but who was ignored on several occasions by the authorities she sought help from.

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My HRA: Patience Asuquo

Towards the end of last year the Commission on a Bill of Rights finally published its findings. The eventual Report exposed deep divisions, with leading civil liberties lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QC and Lib Dem international law professor Philippe Sands QC producing a minority dissent defending the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

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The reality of modern day slavery

It’s a common myth that slavery is a thing of the past; an ancient matter consigned to the history books. But in reality millions across the globe are still forced to lead lives as slaves. The practice persists despite the fact it’s banned in most countries and outlawed by instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And as we’ve seen this week it still rears its ugly head here at home.

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Remembering the Holocaust

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, when we remember those who died and suffered as a result of one the most notorious inhumanities in history. At Liberty we also remember the legacy of that atrocity; that the struggle against totalitarianism and genocide in Europe led to the international human rights framework that some of us treasure and others denigrate today.

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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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