check_circle Done

Society and Culture Society and Culture

Review the application of exploitation in the Modern Slavery Act

Last updated: 11:54am 18 January 2019

We will review the application of exploitation in the Modern Slavery Act to strengthen our ability to stop criminals putting men, women and children into criminal, dangerous and exploitative working conditions.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.40

Our verdict

“Modern slavery” is a term used to describe human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. The most up-to-date government statistics indicate that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013. The Modern Slavery Act became law on 26 March 2015 and aims to give law enforcement the tools to tackle modern slavery.

To fulfil this manifesto promise, we are looking for a “review” into the way the term “exploitation” is applied in the Modern Slavery Act, and therefore by law enforcement and other professionals.

On 30 July 2018, the government announced plans to launch an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act.  In August, the terms of reference of the review were published and they clearly state that “section 3 on the meaning of exploitation” must be among the provisions reviewed.  The terms specify that particular consideration should be given to the following question:

“in relation to section 3, how to ensure the act is ‘future-proof’ given our evolving understanding of the nature of modern slavery offences, for example the recent and emerging issues of county lines and orphanage trafficking”

The review is ongoing (an interim report was published in December 2018) and is due to report to the Home Secretary before the end of March 2019.  But the promise to review has been delivered, so we’re marking this as ‘done’.  Follow this policy for updates on the outcome of the review.

Review the facts

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.