The Council recognises the key importance of safeguarding vulnerable individuals/groups and of raising awareness.
The overall aims of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 are to pursue organised criminals and opportunistic individuals behind the modern-day slave trade and to prevent people from engaging in modern slavery crime. Other aims are to protect vulnerable people by raising awareness and protecting them from becoming victims and to be better prepared for when these crimes do take place and reduce the harm they cause.
Modern Slavery is estimated to be one of the world's most profitable criminal activities. A 2014 assessment conducted by the Home Office estimated that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 victims in the UK. Sexual exploitation is the most common form of modern slavery currently reported by potential victims in the UK, followed by labour exploitation, forced criminal exploitation and domestic servitude
Legal duty for councils
The legal duty relates to the functions of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner whose role is to act in the interests of victims and potential victims by ensuring that the law enforcement response to modern slavery is coordinated.
Section 43 of the Act states that specified public authorities (including borough councils) have a duty to co-operate with the Commissioner:
- The Commissioner may request a specified public authority to co-operate with the Commissioner in any way that the Commissioner considers necessary for the purposes of the Commissioner's functions.
- A specified public authority must so far as reasonably practicable comply with a request made to it under this section.
The Commissioner’s Strategic Plan identified a key priority as "...best practice within partnership working" based on the following models:
- Working to ensure partnerships are in place across the country that enable effective communication streams between relevant bodies including, but not limited to, law enforcement, local authorities, health care bodies and NGOs.(3.11)
- Promoting best practice, providing comprehensive guidance and encouraging further development of outcome-focused models across the UK. (3.12)
Section 54 of the Act also requires the Council to consider Modern Slavery as part of its procurement strategy, ensuring that contractors and third parties have policies in place and adhere to the law and their responsibilities.
Modern Slavery Transparency Statement
Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act requires the Council to publish a statement of the steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, or in any part of its business.
Last updated: 9.35am on Wednesday 5 June 2019