My Lords, I welcome these regulations as an important step forward in the UK’s commitment to taking a determined international lead in this sector. I ask the Minister to ensure that the FCO retains a laser-like focus on modern slavery and, as stated in the regulations,
“the right to be free from slavery”,
not least in association with international sport.
I declare my interests as vice-chairman of the All-Party Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights. We have sought to address the relationship between sport, modern slavery and human trafficking. While major international sporting events are undoubtedly an enabler for soft power, they also pose one of the biggest human rights risks, relating to the construction of venues, showpiece state-of-the-art stadia, required on tight deadlines to meet competition schedules. The worst violations of workers’ rights in the construction of new stadia show that unacceptably high fatality levels are still commonplace, with 50 people dying in construction activity relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and 21 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
A further related concern is the exploitation of the fan ID visa system, which short-circuits often lengthy and costly visa applications. Undoubtedly beneficial to the true fan, they can be, and have been, abused. During the Russian World Cup in 2018, anti-trafficking NGOs estimated that some 2,000 Nigerian women were trafficked to Russia on visa-free fan ID entries. On arrival, they were forced into sex work to pay off fictional debts. As we look to major international sporting events in the future, I hope that the Government will ensure that fan ID systems do not become an instrument for human trafficking. If they do, the perpetrators will be subject to the toughest human rights sanctions available to the Government under these regulations, potentially—and particularly—in co-operation with other countries.