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Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay
Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay
UK News

'As a church we should stand up to this awful injustice', Christians urged to show support for new slavery legislation

by Cara Bentley

A bill was introduced in the House of Lords on Monday which aims to improve support for modern slavery victims across England and Wales. 
 
The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill would give victims at least 12 months of guaranteed support, with further support on offer following an assessment. 

The bill is being sponsored by Lord Ian McColl of Dulwich, a surgeon who worked for Mercy Ships and Conservative life peer since 1989. Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith is also supporting the bill through parliament. 

The legislation is a Private Member's Bill which came 15th in the House of Lords ballot, meaning it is guaranteed further debate. 

 

 

In July last year, the previous Government withdrew their policy of offering 45 days of support to those coming out of slavery, as it was found unlawful, with the Home Office needing to find a better policy with more tailor-made support that didn't leave people suddenly abandoned after six weeks. 
 
Christian public policy charity CARE is backing the new bill and calling on the Government to get behind it too. 

Nadia Burrell, CARE's Human Trafficking Policy Officer, told Premier: "Firstly, this doesn't go with our international obligations. We have agreed internationally that victims' rights should be protected in statute. Secondly, to have real recovery victims need a prolonged period of stability and safety and the current system just does not provide that."

She added that under the current level of support there is a lack of security for the victims and also an estimated saving on the tax payer of £25 million as victims will be less likely to become homeless, to develop increased mental health problems and require later intervention if they were to be trafficked again. 

Burrell said: "A victim then can have time to recover and if they are able to stay, that means that they can get work and contribute back to our economy."

She added that the type of support should be dependent on what is needed by each individual, from safe accommodation, to medical help and mental health support. 

 

 

 

CARE is also encouraging Christians to contact their local MP to make sure the legislation gets to Royal Assent. 

"As a church we should stand up to this awful injustice. We need to be looking at this in the face and knowing what is going on. We need to be making sure that people know it's a reality that happens here in the UK, not just around the world, and that the church should be contacting their MP to support Lord McColl's bill," Burrell said. 

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