Clause 30 - Cross-border enforcement

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 9 September 2014.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:45, 9 September 2014

Modern slavery is a cross-border issue, so we must ensure that the UK has a joined-up approach to prevent these horrific crimes. That important principle is not only reflected in the Government’s approach but was shown in the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee’s report, which highlighted the fact that

“modern slavery straddles borders without respect for jurisdiction: the UK government must work closely with the devolved institutions as they produce their own legislative responses.”

Clause 30 reflects that principle. It will enable the Secretary of State to add or remove any relevant UK order to the list of orders in clause 29 that would constitute an offence if breached in England and Wales. The Government have worked closely with the devolved Administrations on tackling modern slavery, and will ensure that similar reciprocal measures are in place so that orders made in England and Wales can be enforced throughout the UK. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland are introducing legislation on modern slavery that offers such an opportunity.

If Scotland or Northern Ireland pass legislation to introduce orders similar to the slavery and trafficking prevention and risk orders, the Secretary of State will be able to ensure that breaches of those orders are criminal offences in England and Wales. That will mean that individuals who pose a risk can be managed effectively across the UK. For example, if an individual was made subject to an order in one of the devolved Administrations and then moved to London, the risk they posed could be managed through enforcing the original order.

The Government recognise that making changes through regulations under the clause would broaden the offence in clause 29(1). The Bill therefore provides for the regulations to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in order to provide the appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny.

Clause 31 ensures that the court proceedings for the determination of applications for orders against children and young people under part 2 of the Bill are managed appropriately. It sets out certain circumstances—essentially, whether it is in a young person’s interest—in which rules of court may allow a youth court to deal with a person aged 18 or over in respect of applications for slavery and trafficking prevention and risk orders.

First, the clause provides that the rules of court may allow the youth court to give permission for it to hear an application against a person aged 18 or over when an application has also been made against a person under 18 and the youth court thinks that it would be in the interests of justice for the applications to be heard together. Secondly, rules of court may set out how to deal with cases against a person who is under 18 but reaches the age of 18 during the proceedings. The rules of court may set out the circumstances in which the proceedings may or must remain with the youth court and also make provision for transfers to an adult magistrates court, where that is the appropriate response. I hope that the Committee will support the inclusion of both clauses in the Bill.