Victim protection: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

There were many concerns raised by the government’s rhetorical claims that the Modern Slavery Act (2015) would make the UK a ‘global leader’ on the issue. Not least among these were whether we would see a proper implementation of actions needed to reduce vulnerability of certain groups, and any substantial enhancement of protections available for victims. The recent release of evaluations by James Ewins on the visa system for overseas domestic workers and by the University of Bedfordshire on the pilot for child trafficking advocates underline these problems.

A January 2016 briefing by the Forced Labour Monitoring Group (FLMG) presents the main issues around support and protection of those identified as victims of modern slavery in the UK, how much still needs to be done, and lends weight to the argument that pressure is still required to ensure the government live up to its aspirations to lead the way.

Event report- Victim, Survivor or Human Being

The report is drawn from contributions to an event on victim protection on 19th November 2015 at the International Slavery Museum, hosted by the CSIS (Centre for the Study of International Slavery) as part of a 2015-2016 seminar series supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The event included reports on the latest work being done in the area of victim protection, discussion of the latest policy developments, and challenges for future research.



  • Alex Balch, University of Liverpool
  • Gary Craig, University of Durham
  • Richard Benjamin, International Slavery Museum

Session 1 – latest and best practice in victim protection

  • Phill Clayton, City Hearts
  • Abby Williams, Hope for Justice
  • Hannah Stott, Barnardo’s
  • Geoff Cheshire, Red Cross

Session 2 – policy developments and influencing

  • Tatiana Jardan, Human Trafficking Foundation
  • Caroline Robinson, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
  • Vicky Brotherton, Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG)

2015-2016 Seminar series: The New Agenda on Modern Slavery and Labour Exploitation in the UK

The Forced Labour Monitoring Group (FLMG) is holding a series of events to be held in 2015-2016 on modern slavery and labour exploitation in the UK. The series is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) as part of its programme on forced labour. Additional support is being provided by the University of Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS) and the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE).

The main aim of the series is to draw academics, experts, government and other (policy and activist) groups into productive dialogue to establish and outline the new agenda on contemporary slavery and labour exploitation issues in the UK. Events will be related to legislative and policy changes and explore improvements in policy and practice in tackling forced labour amongst a range of policy actors in the UK and abroad.

1st event – 20th March 2015

The first event in the series was held in London on 20th March. Click here for the agenda.

  • The event included updates on attempts to lobby on amendments to the Modern Slavery Bill from representatives of Anti-Slavery International, Kalayaan and FLEX (Focus on Labour Exploitation).
  • There was discussion of how the Modern Slavery Bill relates to ongoing developments in the rest of the UK – particularly Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both have new legislation to tackle human trafficking.
  • The inclusion of a ‘transparency in supply chains’ clause in the Modern Slavery Bill has led to a consultation to which the FLMG will draft a response

There were presentations from ‘Supply without Chains’ and the DemandAT project

  • Supply Without Chains is a group formed by final year law students at Warwick University. They have published an excellent paper which is well worth reading: SWC Report- Building on the MSB. Please also visit their blog.
  • Fabiola Mieres from Durham University presented news about their work as part of the DemandAT project including news of a forthcoming event on June 3rd which may be of interest. Click here for the flyer: SAVE THE DATE JUNE 3rd





New Report: ‘Forced Labour in the UK: what next?’

October 2014: The Forced Labour Monitoring Group, a consortium of 40+ organisations representing businesses, academics, NGOs, researchers and campaigning organisations, on 12 October launched a new report Forced Labour in the UK: what next?

The report traces the history of debates about forced labour in the UK, reviewing legal, policy and political issues, and identifies a number of key concerns needing to be addressed by government and regulatory bodies such as the Gangmaster’s Licensing Authority. The report is appearing as the Committee stage of the Modern Slavery Bill is nearing its end. The authors argue that forced labour, despite being identified as a separate criminal offence, where the rate of those identified as being in forced labour or being trafficked for labour exploitation, is growing rapidly, is still being given inadequate time within parliamentary debates about the Bill.

Click here for more information

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The UK’s Modern Slavery Bill

Latest news

03.11.14: Overseas Domestic Workers – pressure growing on government to change the visa rules as part of Modern Slavery Bill. Kalayaan are leading the campaign, with evidence of increased levels of exploitation and abuse since the rules changed in 2012 (this prevented migrant domestic workers from changing employer and limited their residency rights). After a tied vote at the committee stage of the Modern Slavery Bill, the Labour Party say they will table an amendment at Report Stage as well as in the Lords. Kalayaan along with others is holding an event in the Lords on the 20th November hosted by Baroness Caroline Cox. Contact Kalayaan for more information

An alternative Bill has been produced by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG): ‘ATMG Modern Slavery Human Trafficking and Human Exploitation Bill’.

29.09.14: Read a letter from the ETI calling for transparency in supply chains

17.09.14: The ETI has issued a position statement strongly urging the government to go beyond voluntary initiatives and consider legislation on supply chains: “Legislation is needed to provide a regulatory framework that levels the playing field for all UK companies with specific provisions on supply chains.” (ETI 2014)

Background and links

A ‘Modern Slavery’ Bill was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in August 2013. It was formally included as part of the government’s legislative programme for 2014-2015 and has begun its progress through the parliamentary process. The draft Bill was published in December 2013 and was first reviewed by a Joint Select Committee of Lords and Commons which reported and made recommendations in April 2014. On 8 July 2014 the government issued a booklet outlining/explaining the policy implications of Modern Slavery bill (full strategy expected in the autumn of 2014), and on 31 July 2014 launched a television advert and dedicated website.

See below timeline with relevant links. Please contact us if you wish to add any links via the contact form at the bottom of the page.

16 December 2013 – Report of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review: ‘Establishing Britain as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery’ %20Slavery%20Bill%20Evidence%20Review.pdf

16 December 2013 – Draft Modern Slavery Bill attachment_data/file/266165/Draft_Modern_Slavery_Bill.pdf

4 April 2014 – Draft Modern Slavery Bill Joint Committee: Report on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill jtslavery/166/16602.htm

10 June 2014 – response to the report from the Joint Affairs Committee on the draft Modern Slavery Bill draft-modern-slavery-bill–2

8 July 2014 – government booklet: ‘Modern slavery: how the UK is leading the fight

31 July 2014 – launch of campaign: ‘Slavery is closer than you think’

What is the FLMG?

The Forced Labour Monitoring Group (FLMG) is a network of people and organizations interested in research and policy on forced labour. It operates by drawing academics, experts, government and other user (policy and activist) groups into productive dialogue, and by fostering collaborations for the purposes of evaluating the UK response to forced labour, or for other tasks such as submitting evidence to inquiries and responding to legislative processes.

The FLMG was established in 2013 because of a belief in the need for a permanent focal point for academic and policy discussion around forced labour in the UK. Funding was initially obtained through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to run a series of events in the period January 2013 – April 2014.

The group is currently seeking further funding but continues to operate thanks to the support of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS) at the University of Liverpool and the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull.