Modern Slavery in the UK

We may think of slavery as a deplorable practice that was, thankfully, stopped in the 19th century. However, although it takes different forms in our current world, the practice still exists.

Today it may include people that are ‘trafficked’ from one country to another and are victims of, among other things, sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude. Modern slavery can also happen to people within their own country.

The Law

Parliament has attempted to combat this problem with the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Act has created offences which include holding a person in a position of slavery , servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Whilst any legislation that helps victims of modern slavery is welcome, it would seem that much more needs to be done.


The Home Office has come under fire from appeal court judges, in a recent case. In 2015, a Vietnamese boy aged 15, was discovered in the back of a van, along with 15 other boys and young men and was placed in detention. No age check was carried out on the boy and upon his release, went missing and cannot be traced. The boy, referred to as TDT, should have been placed in local authority care and not released with the potential to fall back into the hands of traffickers, argued his solicitor. This situation was described by Lord Justice Underhill, hearing the appeal, as ‘disturbing’.

Lawyers in the case have pledged to fight the ‘systematic deficiencies’ in the Modern Slavery Act.

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