News story: Government to launch new modern slavery research centre

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Efforts to uncover the true scale of modern slavery, expose more trafficking networks and better inform our action to stamp out these crimes have been boosted today following the governments investment of £10 million to create a cutting-edge Policy and Evidence Centre for Modern Slavery and Human Rights.

The new research centre, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund and led by UKRIs Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), will bring together academics, businesses and charities to drive forward new studies, share knowledge, and improve collaboration both at home and overseas, to further strengthen our response.

The announcement comes as the government publishes its response to the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act and launches a consultation on strengthening and improving transparency in supply chains legislation. The independent review, which was published on 22 May, praised the “ground-breaking” Modern Slavery Act and made a number of recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the act.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

More than a 100 years ago the world condemned slavery to the history books, but the stark reality for around 40 million men, women and children is that they are still trapped in modern slavery.

As both Home Secretary and Prime Minister I have endeavoured to shine a light on this hidden crime, to speak out for victims and put modern slavery firmly on the domestic and international agenda.

There is much we can be proud of in our progress so far, but we need to accelerate our efforts, better share knowledge and build on our expertise.

That is why we commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act to ensure our laws are keeping pace with the rapidly evolving nature of these crimes, and why I am pleased to support new, innovative research to inform global efforts to end this barbaric crime by 2030.

Representing UKRI, Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said:

The Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre will for the first time bring together researchers, policy makers, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), businesses, and victims on a scale not seen before.

The centre will seek out solutions to this dehumanising and abhorrent crime by mobilising world-class research from the arts, humanities, social sciences and beyond. The centre will provide new independent, impartial insight and analysis into the causes and consequences of modern slavery – speaking to questions of prevention, enforcement, supply chains, victims recovery and survivor needs.

Following the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, the Home Office will now consult on proposals to enhance transparency and drive compliance with the legislation, which requires businesses to publish a statement setting out what they are doing to tackle modern slavery and forced labour in their supply chains here in the UK and overseas. The consultation also seeks views on proposals to expand the law to cover the public sector and its vast purchasing power.

As part of this work the Home Office has written directly to 17,000 organisations in scope of the legislation, and it is estimated that, to date, 60% of in-scope organisations have published a statement. Those that do not comply risk being publicly named following an audit of companies and the new consultation will consider further enforcement of the act, including the possibility of a new civil penalty scheme.

It comes days after the UKs largest modern slavery prosecution, which saw traffickers jailed for between four-and-a-half years and 11 years.

Home Secretary Sajid JavidRead More – Source

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