Home Office written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she will conduct an updated national assessment of the scale of modern slavery in Britain, to include the (a) economic and (b) social cost of modern slavery; and if she will take steps to formulate an updated strategy to tackle it.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The UK Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery and bringing those individuals responsible to justice. Our response is underpinned by the Modern Slavery Strategy 2014 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first legislation of its kind in the world.

The Government is identifying more victims of modern slavery and doing more to bring perpetrators to justice than ever before. In 2019, the Government’s manifesto included a commitment to continue the campaign to eradicate the scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking. In May 2020, at the Prime Minister’s Virtual Summit on Hidden Harms, the Government reiterated the absolute priority that we place on preventing and protecting those at risk from hidden harms, including modern slavery.

It is crucial that the Government’s policy and operational response to modern slavery is underpinned by robust evidence and we are committed to improving our understanding of this complex crime. In 2018 the Home Office published a report on the economic and social costs of modern slavery and in July 2019, the Government announced a £10 million investment to create a new Policy and Evidence Centre for Modern Slavery and Human Rights. As noted by the Office for National Statistics in their March 2020 report the hidden nature of this crime makes providing an accurate measure of its scale difficult. However, we will continue working with the Centre and other partners to strengthen the evidence base of the nature and scale of modern slavery in the UK.

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