The UK’s approach to tackling modern slavery through the aid programme: report from the Sub-Committee on the Work of ICAI – Report Summary

This is a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond.

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Summary

In October 2020, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) published a review of “the UK’s approach to tackling modern slavery through the aid programme”. The Government response was published in November 2020. Although, the Government has played a prominent role in raising the profile of modern slavery globally, the review found that the UK’s work to tackle modern slavery in developing countries resulted in limited long-term impact, did not always build on existing international efforts and experience, and could do more to help survivors in a meaningful way.

ICAI scored the Government’s work on modern slavery as “Amber/Red” overall, meaning “Unsatisfactory achievement in most areas, with some positive elements.” The review looked at learning, relevance, and effectiveness; the Government was awarded an “Amber/Red” score in each area.

ICAI made five recommendations to the Government. Broadly, these were on filling evidence and knowledge gaps; Survivor inclusion; Statement of intent for UK aid in the fight against modern slavery; Mainstreaming modern slavery across the UK aid portfolio and strengthening partnerships with the private sector and partner governments. The Government accepted three out of five recommendations, and partially accepted the recommendations on mainstreaming modern slavery across the UK aid portfolio and partnerships with the private sector.

We believe that in order to make UK aid more effective in the fight against modern slavery, the Government must consider ICAI’s recommendations carefully, and look to ensure there are more tailored responses to tackling modern slavery, in close partnership with the private sector and partner countries. In turn, this cooperation will also be beneficial towards improving the evidence and knowledge gap that exists.