Modern Slavery Bill

Written evidence submitted by Amnesty International UK (MS 11)

Amnesty International UK

1. Amnesty International UK (AIUK) is a national section of a global movement of over three million supporters, members and activists. We represent more than 230,000 supporters in the United Kingdom. Collectively, our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. Our mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.

Introduction

2. AIUK has a wealth of experience of working on Human Trafficking and Slavery and were one of the leading organisations that campaigned for a robust victim centred approach on the text of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and continue to work to promote states’ ratification compliance. AIUK welcomes the move to legislate to tackle modern slavery and enhance protections available to victims. However, we share concerns that, as currently drafted, the Modern Slavery Bill will not adequately secure these aims. In this submission we address six discrete matters relating to the Bill. That we have not addressed a matter should be taken to imply neither that we consider other provisions to be adequate nor others’ concerns unfounded.

Child guardians (clause 41)

3. There is a risk of confusion about labels. Thus, in oral evidence, the Committee was warned against guardians by reference to a case where a child was brought to the UK to be with a ‘guardian’ and was enslaved. [1] The confusion here is in misunderstanding what is meant by a child guardian. Whether the term ‘guardian’ (as in Article 10 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) or ‘advocate’ (as in clause 41 of the Bill) is used, what is called for is a suitably qualified person, free of any conflict of interest, with authority and responsibility to act and advocate in the best interests of the child. What the Committee heard in evidence did not involve such a person.

4. It was also said in oral evidence that what was needed was "a legal advocate when you get into the judicial process." [2] There is the potential for further confusion here. Children do need good-quality, properly-resourced legal advisers and advocates in any legal processes – including in the immigration tribunals and High Court. But their welfare and safety will not be advanced by duplicating roles within or across such processes. Such duplication is only likely to lead to confusion and inconsistency. Most of these children will likely be subject to immigration processes, and many may have good claims for redress against abusers, for which they will need specialist legal assistance. In relation to this, two concerns arise. Legal aid provision is currently inadequate. Problems also arise in individual cases where the child is unable or unwilling to provide adequate instructions to his or her lawyer. The first concern (legal aid) is addressed below under discrete heading.

5. The second concern (instructing lawyers) is longstanding. Lawyers do experience cases where a child thinks it is best to protect his or her relationship with, and the interests of, a trafficker or other abuser. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) and others have long highlighted that, in the absence of a guardian empowered to give instructions in the child’s best interests, a lawyer may be unable to advance the child’s interests for want of any or appropriate instructions. [3]

6. During oral evidence, it was suggested that the Bill already provides for advocates to instruct a lawyer. [4] There is scope for confusion here. Clause 41 does not expressly provide for this power or responsibility. Nor do the Bill’s supportive documents refer to this. [5] Prior to the Bill’s introduction, the Government announced two trials of systems of child trafficking advocates – one to be provided by local authorities, another to be provided by Barnardo’s. Neither announcement makes reference to such a power or responsibility. [6] In any event, it is important to distinguish between a power or role in finding and appointing a lawyer to act for the child, and giving instructions to a lawyer as to the substance of how he or she should act – e.g. the substance of the claim and evidence to be advanced.

7. AIUK supports clause 17 of the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG) alternative Bill, which would establish a statutory scheme for independent legal guardians, who may be victims of trafficking or other abuse. That clause expressly addresses this second concern. Alternatively, AIUK supports the following amendment also supported by the Refugee Children’s Consortium.

59

Mark Durkan

Clause 41, Page 28, line 19, at end insert:

"(e) requiring advocates to act for the child when he lacks the legal capacity to do so and also ensure that other service providers act in his best interests and provide him with the necessary services and support to meet the Government’s obligations under the Council of Europe Convention and EU Anti-Trafficking Directive"

8. We are aware of other amendments proposed by the Refugee Children’s Consortium in relation to guardians/advocates. We broadly support these amendments, and our specific focus here should not be taken to imply any opposition to their further proposals.

Overseas domestic workers

9. The immigration rules relating to overseas domestic worker visas were amended in April 2012. The changes significantly increased the vulnerability of overseas domestic workers to exploitation, including by tying the worker to the particular employer. As the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill said, this "…institutionalises [overseas domestic workers’] abuse; it is slavery and is therefore incongruous with our aim to act decisively to protect the victims of modern slavery." [7] As Kalayaan explained in oral evidence, increased abuse of, and reduced ability to help available, overseas domestic workers has resulted directly from these changes. [8]

10. AIUK supports the following new clause taken from clause 19 of the ATMG alternative Bill, and supported by Kalayaan. It would reinstate [subparagraph (1)] by protections removed in 2012 as recommended by the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill. [9] It would also strengthen protections against slavery and other abuse, including by ensuring [subparagraph (8)] a direct contractual relationship between diplomatic domestic workers and the relevant diplomatic mission which that Committee also recommended. [10]

After Clause 44, insert New Clause –

"Overseas domestic workers

(1) Overseas domestic workers including diplomatic domestic workers shall be entitled to:

(a) change their employer (but not work sector) while in the United Kingdom, without any adverse consequences for their immigration status;

(b) renew their domestic worker visa or diplomatic domestic worker visa for as long as the worker is in employment;

(c) be joined in the United Kingdom by their spouse or civil partner and any of their children who are under the age of 18;

(d) apply for indefinite leave to remain after five continuous years of residence in the United Kingdom and where they continue to be required for employment as a domestic worker.

(2) An employer must pay an overseas domestic worker the National Minimum Wage. A failure to do so shall be an offence under section 31 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. The Family Worker exemption provided for under Regulation 2(2) of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 shall not apply to any dispute relating to the wages of an overseas domestic worker.

(3) An employer must inform HMRC in writing of the overseas domestic workers’ tax and national insurance contributions (including where any exemption for the worker may apply) within three months of the commencement of an overseas domestic worker’s first visa, or when their visa is renewed for the first time, whichever is the earlier.

(4) An employer who fails to comply with section (19)(3) commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine.

(5) An overseas domestic worker shall be entitled to a three month temporary visa permitting them to live in the United Kingdom for the purposes of seeking new employment as an overseas domestic worker where–

(a) there is evidence that the overseas domestic worker has been trafficked, enslaved or exploited by their employer, irrespective of whether or not the employer has been criminally charged or convicted in respect of such conduct;

(b) the employer informs the Home Office that the overseas domestic worker has ceased to work for the employer and as a consequence the overseas domestic worker’s visa is, or will be, revoked;

(c) the employer dismisses the overseas domestic worker within three months of the date of expiry of their overseas domestic worker visa; or

(d) the overseas domestic worker’s visa is revoked as a result of the sponsoring employer’s misconduct including, without limitation, the non-payment of National Minimum Wage, tax or national insurance,

and where the overseas domestic worker would otherwise be unable to remain in the United Kingdom.

For the purposes of this section, and without limiting the general definition of exploitation in section 5 above, "exploitation" in section 19(5) expressly includes a failure by an employer to pay the overseas domestic worker the National Minimum Wage and non-minor breaches by the employer of applicable employment law.

(6) If a temporary visa is not granted to an overseas domestic worker under section 19(5), the overseas domestic worker shall have a right of review of that decision by the High Court and the right to apply for legal aid in relation to any such review.

(7) An overseas domestic worker shall have the right to remain in the United Kingdom on the same terms as their overseas domestic worker visa for a reasonable period for the purposes of preparing and lodging an application for a temporary visa under section 19(5) and for any period while they await any decision from the Home Office regarding their immigration status.

(8) The Home Office shall only grant a diplomatic domestic worker visa where there is evidence that the diplomatic domestic worker is or will be employed in the United Kingdom pursuant to a direct contractual relationship with the relevant diplomatic mission. "

Supply chains

11. If the Bill is to reduce modern slavery in the UK, it must ensure that UK businesses do not sustain and benefit from slavery. At present, deficiencies in the supply chain policies of companies operating in the UK are likely to contribute to slave labour conditions.

12. To reduce the incidence of slavery, the drivers for cheap, easily exploitable labour need to be understood and addressed. So long as companies are allowed to avoid taking the necessary measures to identify and root out forms of slavery in their supply chains, a ‘pull factor’ will ensure the continuation of human trafficking regardless of the proposed legislation.

13. The Bill, by ignoring the human rights responsibilities of companies, is neglecting a key factor in the prevalence of modern slavery in the UK – the demand for trafficked labour across a number of industries. The presence of forced labour in company supply chains contravenes international standards that the UK should be holding its companies to. These standards include the International Labour Organisation Forced Labour Convention 1930 (No. 29) and its 2014 Protocol [11] , and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Without such measures, the Bill will be only partially effective in reducing the incidence of, and preventing modern slavery.

14. The UNGPs, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011, require companies to conduct ‘human rights due diligence’ to address their impacts across all their business relationships, which include their supply chains. [12] The UK Government was the first State to develop an Action Plan to implement the UNGPs. [13] This was launched in September 2013 by the Foreign Secretary and the Business Secretary.

15. The UK government must respond to the existing evidence on modern slavery, most of which consists of relatively small-scale academic studies. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation in its programme on forced labour in the UK has commissioned studies pointing to forced labour in sectors including: cleaning; construction; care work and domestic work; catering and hospitality; and food production and processing. [14] Other one-off investigations have included the TUC-led Commission on Vulnerable Employment (TUC, 2008) [15] and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry into conditions in meat and poultry processing in England and Wales (EHRC, 2010) [16] .

16. All the above tend to suggest that the scale of forced labour may be significantly greater than the anticipated number of cases prosecuted as criminal offences. The government’s focus on law enforcement, to the exclusion of addressing the failure by certain sectors of industry to root out modern forms of slavery from their supply chains, risks bypassing a key part of the problem.

17. In the absence of appropriate legislative measures, companies will continue to mismanage supply chains, creating a situation where the most exploitative labour conditions are tolerated and where there is little prospect of a significant reduction in incidences of modern slavery.

18. AIUK recommend the Bill be amended to include provisions requiring large UK companies to include information in their annual reports on the due diligence policies and processes they undertake to identify and address the risks and incidence of slavery and forced labour in their supply chains, and the effectiveness and outcomes of those policies and processes. Such provisions would reflect the requirements of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010. AIUK supports the text of an amendment to the Bill that is being submitted by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group.

19. Such a measure would be wholly consistent with the UK government’s commitment to implement the UNGPs, and its expectation that companies behave in line with the UNGPs throughout their supply chains.

20. Disclosure would help to prevent the continuation of modern slavery by enabling companies to assess and address the risk that their practices drive demand for cheap, exploitable labour enduring conditions of modern slavery. The availability of such information to stakeholders including consumers, investors and civil society groups would create greater accountability for company practices. AIUK supports the amendment below which would provide an opportunity to consider these matters further and probe the Government on its position about supply chains and corporate responsibility.

Insert New Clause –

Transparency in Supply Chains

Definitions

(1) For the purposes of this section, modern slavery shall mean:

(a) the conditions of slavery as set out in the 1926 Slavery Convention and the 1956 Supplementary Convention on Slavery;

(b) human trafficking as set out in Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council.

(c) forced labour as set out in ILO Convention 29 (1930) and subsequent protocol (2014);

(d) child slavery as set out in the 1956 Supplementary Convention on Slavery,

(e) child labour as set out in ILO Convention 138; and,

(f) the worst forms of child slavery as set out in ILO Convention 182.

General duty

(2) Every company operating in the United Kingdom and having annual worldwide gross receipts exceeding £60,000,000 shall disclose, in a Modern Slavery Report as set forth in subsection (3), the measures it is taking to eradicate modern slavery from its own operations and direct supply chains for tangible goods and services offered for sale. In the event that a company has already published a general human rights policy, that policy shall be amended to clarify and detail its approach to Modern Slavery within this policy as set forth in subsection (3).

Requirements of disclosure

(3) The report described in subsection (2) shall disclose the efforts of the company, taken during the year for which such reporting is required, to evaluate and address the risks and presence of modern slavery throughout their supply chains. If such efforts have been made, such disclosure shall be included in the company’s Modern Slavery Report, specifying whether such disclosure was verified by a person independent of the organisation and outlining to what extent, if any, the company does each of the following –

(a) Describes risks identified throughout the supply chain, including whether there has been consultation with the independent labour organisations, or independent civil society organisations in supplier markets where there is risk of slavery; and the measures taken towards eliminating those risks;

(b) Gathers independent reports of suppliers’ sites and conducts unannounced independent inspections of suppliers to evaluate effectiveness of and compliance with the company’s Modern Slavery policy. The disclosure shall publish, who undertook the report, whether inspection visits were announced, the terms of reference of any inspections and audits carried out;

(c) Verifies whether suppliers have in place appropriate systems to identify risks of modern slavery within their own supply chain and whether such systems are in compliance with the company’s Modern Slavery policy;

(d) Maintains internal accountability standards, supply chain management and procurement systems, and procedures for employees or contractors failing to meet company’s Modern Slavery policy;

(e) Provides company employees and management who have direct responsibility for supply chain management with training on modern slavery with particular respect to mitigating risks within the supply chains of products and services;

(f) Ensures that recruitment practices at all suppliers comply with the company‘s Modern Slavery policy;

(g) Takes action necessary and appropriate to assist people who have been victims and report cases of modern slavery that the company uncovers to the relevant authorities.

Availability of information

(4) The disclosure described in subsection (3) shall be–

(a) set out in the company’s annual report, and

(b) posted prominently on the company’s internet website, where available, and offered in writing to a consumer, civil society organisation or relevant stakeholder within 30 days of their request for such disclosure.

(5) The Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills shall make available to the public in a searchable format on the Department of Business Innovation and Skills’ website:

(a) A list of companies required to make the disclosure under subsection (2) above; and

(b) A compilation of the information disclosed pursuant to such requirements on annual basis.

Penalty for non-compliance

(6) The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations setting deadlines for including the Modern Slavery Policy in a company’s annual report and imposing penalties for failure to comply with those deadlines. Nothing in this section shall limit remedies available for a violation of any other UK law.

Review

(7) This Transparency in Supply Chains provision will be reviewed after 3 years to assess how and whether improvements should be made to this Transparency in Supply Chains legislation to improve its effectiveness.

Anti-Slavery Commissioner (clauses 34, 36 and 38)

21. AIUK supports the establishment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner (Commissioner). However, there are significant weaknesses within the relevant clauses, as currently drafted, which would limit and compromise the effectiveness of the role. These include the role of the Secretary of State in:

· appointing the Commissioner [clause 34(1)]

· providing the staff, resources and expenses required by the Commissioner [clause 34(3) & (4)]

· agreeing the activities and focus of the Commissioner [clause 36(6)]

· editing and removing material from the Commissioner’s reports [clause 36(10)]

22. The effectiveness of comparable bodies, such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, has been significantly related to their independence. Neither body is so restrained in their independence from the relevant Secretary of State as is currently proposed for the Commissioner by the Bill. As regards the latter, the 2010 review of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner [17] concluded that "consideration should be given to strengthening the [Children’s] Commissioner’s independence" and made recommendations which would not be compatible with the restrictions in the Bill upon the Commissioner’s independence. Those recommendations included: [18]

· To remove the requirement to consult with the Secretary of State prior to undertaking an inquiry and the Secretary of State’s power to direct the Commissioner to undertake an inquiry;

· To involve Parliament in the appointment process;

· That the Commissioner should submit reports simultaneously to Parliament and the Secretary of State, and Government should present a written statement to Parliament on action to be taken in response to recommendations;

· That the Commissioner receive a three-year budget and be unfettered as to how best to allocate resources from within that budget.

23. As drafted, the role and independence of the Commissioner would be significantly more constrained than rapporteurs elsewhere in Europe – e.g. those in Finland [19] and the Netherlands. [20] The degree of independence and autonomy has been key to the success of these bodies. Similarly, the success of the Commission will depend on their ability to thoroughly and independently scrutinise anti-slavery actions in the UK and assess their impact. The Commissioner’s powers will need to include statutory powers to collect and request data and information on trafficking from public bodies, monitor trends and assess the impact of policies and legislation relevant to trafficking and report directly to Parliament. AIUK is concerned that the role is solely focused on law enforcement, and is therefore still lacking in comparison to other similar UK and international bodies.

24. Clause 38(2) restricts the Commissioner from acting in relation to an individual case. Such a broad restriction risks inhibiting or preventing the Commissioner holding an inquiry where an individual case presents issues of relevance to wider public policy, and should be amended to ensure the Commissioner is free to undertake such an inquiry.

25. The Bill should accordingly be amended to ensure adequate independence, autonomy and effectiveness of the Commissioner, e.g. by adopting the proposed amendment (below) prepared by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group. Amendment 52 (Diana Johnson, Mr David Hanson and Phil Wilson) adopts subparagraph (11) of the proposed amendment, but would limit the Commissioner’s power by retaining the provision in clause 35(5) permitting the Secretary of State to remove material from a report of the Commissioner. New Clause 20 (Mark Durkan) adopts subparagraphs (4) to (11) of the proposed amendment: AIUK support that New Clause.

Clause 34

Page 24, Line 18, for clause 34 substitute –

"Anti-Slavery Commissioner

(1) There is to be an office of Anti-slavery Commissioner (in this section "the Commissioner").

(2) The Commissioner shall be appointed by the Secretary of State, following a pre-appointment review by Parliament of the candidate proposed by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Commissioner may appoint their own staff.

General function and powers

(4) The Commissioner shall–

(a) monitor trafficking, slavery, exploitation, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour, the fulfilment of international obligations and the effectiveness of national legislation and policy;

(b) issue proposals, recommendations, statements, opinions and advice relevant to the fight against trafficking, slavery, exploitation, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and to the realisation of the rights of victims;

(c) engage with international organisations on trafficking, slavery, exploitation, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, child protection, and other relevant issues;

(d) report annually to Parliament on trafficking, slavery, exploitation, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and related issues;

(e) periodically review the offences and related policy of trafficking and slavery to ensure that they reflect the UK’s obligations under the Trafficking Convention and Trafficking Directive and other international instruments are consistently applied to all trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons; and

(f) periodically review public authorities’ compliance with their duty under section 16 above.

(5) The Commissioner is responsible for reviewing the practical implementation of the non-prosecution and non-punishment of trafficked, enslaved and/or exploited persons, and in doing so must have particular regard to women and children.

(6) The Commissioner shall, specifically in respect of victims–

(a) encourage persons exercising functions or engaged in activities affecting trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons to take account of the views and interests of victims;

(b) consult with and advise the government on the views and interests of trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons;

(c) consider the operation of complaints procedures relating to trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons;

(d) consider any other matters relating to the services for, and interests and outcomes of trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons;

(e) be responsible for reviewing the practical implementation of the provision in this Bill for the non-prosecution of and non-application of penalties to trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons and victims of forced or compulsory labour, and in doing so must have particular regard to women and children; and

(f) publish a report on any matter in connection with trafficking, slavery, exploitation, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour considered by the Commissioner, which may include recommendations.

(7) The Commissioner must take reasonable steps to involve trafficked, enslaved and/or exploited persons in the discharge of his/her function under this section, and in particular to-

(a) ensure that trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons are made aware of the Commissioner’s function and how they may communicate with the Commissioner; and

(b) consult trafficked, enslaved or exploited persons, and organisations working with them on the matters the Commission proposes to consider.

(8)The Commissioner is not obliged under this section to conduct an investigation of the case of an individual trafficked, enslaved or exploited person. The Commissioner may, however–

(a) investigate a particular case and/or intervene as a third party in a particular case where the case raises issues of public policy of relevance to other trafficked enslaved or exploited persons; or

(b) investigate any decision or recommendation made, or any act done or omitted, in respect of any trafficked, enslaved or exploited person.

(9) All public authorities must supply the Commissioner with such information in that person’s possession or control relating to those functions as the Commissioner may reasonably request for the purposes of his function under this section (provided that the information is information which that person may, apart from this section 21(9), lawfully disclose to the Commissioner).

(10) Where the Commissioner has published a report under this section containing recommendations in respect of any person exercising functions under any enactment, he may require that person to state in writing, within such period as the Commissioner may reasonably require, what action the person has taken or proposes to take in response to the recommendations.

(11) The Secretary of State must not take steps or impose measures that may impair, or may appear to impair, the Commissioner’s independence and shall ensure that the Commissioner is, to the extent the Commissioner is able, to determine, without limitation (other than as prescribed in this Bill):

(a) The Commissioner’s activities;

(b) The Commissioner’s timetables;

(c) The Commissioner’s priorities; and

(d) The Commissioner’s resources and funding."

Legal Aid

26. The Home Secretary explained at Second Reading that the Bill is to enhance support and protection for victims of modern slavery. [21] The question is whether the Bill will meet these aims. As the Home Secretary also said, the cooperation and evidence of victims is "crucial" if human traffickers and slave masters are to be successfully identified and prosecuted, and their abuses are to be brought to an end. [22] However, changes to legal aid provision have greatly reduced support and protection available to victims. The Bill provides an opportunity to remedy this.

27. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) makes provision for legal aid for victims of human trafficking in connection with employment law or damages claims arising from their exploitation. [23] It also provides for legal aid for such victims in connection with immigration claims, but only if the person is first formally recognised as a victim or potential victim via the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). [24]

28. The Bill recognises that slavery extends beyond human trafficking. [25] LASPO legal aid provisions should be extended to include all victims of slavery. These should be further amended to ensure victims can obtain legal aid for advice and assistance in relation to their immigration status prior to any referral to, or decision by, the NRM. This is vital. Fears about immigration status deter victims from taking steps to escape abuse. These fears are used by human traffickers and slave masters to control their victims. [26] The role of UK Visas and Immigration in determining victim status compounds such problems. [27] However, while removing this role from UK Visas and Immigration (as recommended by the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill) [28] would improve the position, it would not remove all victims’ fears arising from or about their immigration status.

29. The current legal aid arrangements are a significant barrier to victims coming forward by effectively denying them legal advice about the immigration consequences before making a decision whether or not to come forward. NGOs are generally unable to fill the gap left by LASPO because of the complexity of immigration law and practice, and the unique regulatory scheme to which immigration advice is subject. [29]

30. AIUK supports the following amendment proposed by the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. It would provide Committee members an opportunity to probe the Government about these legal aid concerns. The amendment would preclude the bringing into force of the provision (clause 38) to exclude the Anti-Slavery Commissioner from taking up individual cases until such time as the Lord Chancellor had amended LASPO in relation to legal aid for victims of slavery and human trafficking.

Clause 50

Page 31, line 16, leave out "and (3)" and replace with ", (3) and (4)"

Page 31 line 18 at end insert

"(3) Section 38 shall come into force on a day to be appointed, that day being no earlier than the day on which an order made by the Lord Chancellor under section 9(2)(a) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders act in respect of civil legal services for victims of slavery and victims of human trafficking comes into effect."

Access to Healthcare

31. The Government has recognised the potential role for healthcare practitioners to identify, gain the trust of and support victims of human trafficking to escape situations of abuse. [30] However, NHS charging of undocumented migrants undermines this by establishing real or perceived barriers to victims seeking healthcare for fear of being charged and/or reported to immigration authorities. The current exemption from charges for these victims is inadequate because it only applies to those formally recognised as a victim or potential victim via the NRM. [31] Those yet to be identified, and the majority of those still suffering abuse and exploitation, [32] are thus excluded from the exemption and liable to these NHS charges. The current intention to extend NHS charges to accident & emergency and primary care services [33] will greatly exacerbate the difficulties for those victims who do not benefit from the exemption. Even if a victim were to present to a healthcare provider, he or she will be far less likely to maintain a relationship if he or she is or perceives there is a risk of being charged and/or reported. Victims risk not being able to access healthcare, and the chance that contact with a healthcare provider may lead to the victim’s abuse being identified and the victim further supported may simply never materialise.

32. AIUK supports the following amendment proposed by Doctors of the World UK. It would enable a healthcare provider to encourage continued engagement of, and develop trust and confidence with, a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking by assuring the victim there will be no charge.

After Clause 44, insert New Clause –

"Provision of NHS services to victims of modern slavery

Where a provider of services, to which section 175 of the National Health Service Act 2006 relates, believes that a person may be a victim of slavery or human trafficking, no charge may be made under that section for services from that provider to that person."

For further information on any of the issues raised please contact Amnesty International UK at parliament@amnesty.org.uk

A copy of the Alternative Modern Slavery Bill prepared by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), to which this submission refers, is available at:

http://www.antislavery.org/english/press_and_news/news_and_press_releases_2009/alternative_modern_slavery_bill.aspx

August 2014


[1] Hansard HC, Modern Slavery Bill, Public Bill Committee, 21 July 2014 : Columns 17-8 (Q38) per Cecilia Taylor-Camara, Catholic Bishops Conference

[2] Hansard HC, Modern Slavery Bill, Public Bill Committee, 21 July 2014 : Columns 29-30 (Q60) per Andrew Wallis, Unseen UK. The need for such an advocate for children does arise in judicial processes where the child is directly affected by the process but not a party to proceedings (cf. ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 4; and EM (Lebanon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] UKHL 64, paragraphs 48-49); or for some other reason is without legal representation.

[3] e.g. ILPA drew attention to in evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in 2006 and 2013, see that Committee’s First Report of Session 2013-14, Human Rights of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Young People in the UK, First Report of Session 2013-14, HL Paper 9/HC 196, June 2013 (see e.g. paragraph 170 & Q47); and Twenty-Sixth Report of Session 2005-06, Human Trafficking, HL 245/HC 1127, October 2006.

[4] Hansard HC, Modern Slavery Bill, Public Bill Committee, 21 July 2014 : Column 40 (Q78) per Chloe Smith MP

[5] None of the impact assessment, European Convention on Human Rights memorandum, delegated powers memorandum and Government’s response to the pre-legislative scrutiny committee on the draft Modern Slavery Bill make any reference to such a power or responsibility – see https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery-bill The Explanatory Memorandum makes no such reference either.

[6] See announcements on 21 February 2014 and 4 June 2014 at respectively: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/specialist-teams-to-fight-modern-slavery-at-uk-ports https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charity-to-provide-specialist-support-for-child-victims-of-trafficking

[7] Draft Modern Slavery Bill, Report of Session 2013-14, HL Paper 166/HC 1019, April 2014, paragraph 225

[8] Modern Slavery Bill Public Bill Committee, First Sitting, Monday 21 July 2014, Q46, evidence of Kate Roberts

[9] Op cit, paragraph 227

[10] Op cit, paragraph 228

[11] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_248900.pdf

[12] UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, June 2011, see Principles 17-21 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf

[13] Good Business: Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, September 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236901/BHR_Action_Plan_-_final_online_version_1_.pdf

[14] See http://www.jrf.org.uk/topic/forced-labour

[15] ‘Hard Work, Hidden Lives’

[15] http://www.vulnerableworkers.org.uk/files/CoVE_full_report.pdf

[16] ‘Inquiring into recruitment and employment in the meat and poultry processing sector’, March 2010: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/Inquiries/meat_inquiry_report.pdf

[17] Review of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (England), John Dunford, November 2010, Cm 7981, p36

[18] Ibid, p37

[19] The Ombudsman for Minorities in Finland also acts as the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and is highlighted as a model of good practice by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group – see briefing at http://www.antislavery.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2014/a/atmg_briefing_antislavery_commissioner_march_2014.pdf

[20] The Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings was expressly highlighted as a model example in the Explanatory Report (CETS No. 197) to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, at paragraph 298

[21] Hansard HC, 8 July 2014 : Column 166 per the Rt Hon Theresa May MP

[22] Hansard HC, 8 July 2014 : Column 177 per the Rt Hon Theresa May MP

[23] Paragraph 32(2) & (3) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

[24] Paragraph 32(1) op cit

[25] Clause 45 expressly distinguishes between slavery and human trafficking, albeit many instances may be caught by both definitions.

[26] See e.g. UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012, December 2012, pp15 & 40, The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group, All Change: Preventing Trafficking in the UK, April 2012, pp49-50 and Draft Modern Slavery Bill, Report of Session 2013-14, op cit, pp65-66 (paragraphs 100-101)

[27] The conflict of interest in the role of UK Visas and Immigration was expressly acknowledged by the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, in highlighting several flaws in the practice and understanding of that body – see Report of Committee, op cit, paragraphs 89-90.

[28] See Report of Committee, op cit, paragraph 91

[29] Immigration advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) under the scheme established by Part V of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The scheme provides for advisers to be accredited at different levels, and the level of accreditation among NGOs within the scheme is often at level 1 which does not permit e.g. advice on making an asylum claim or applications falling outside the immigration rules.

[30] Then Health Minister, Anna Soubry MP, recognised this in Aprils 2013 when launching new training and advice to NHS staff, see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/help-for-nhs-staff-to-spot-and-support-trafficking-victims

[31] The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011, SI 2011/1556, regulation 12

[32] In 2012, around two-thirds of trafficking victims identified by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) had not been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (and we assume victims not identified by SOCA had also not been referred): see SOCA, A Strategic Assessment on the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking in 2012, August 2013, p6 (paragraph 8).

[33] See e.g. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recovering-costs-of-nhs-healthcare-from-visitors-and-migrants

Prepared 2nd September 2014