Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes Draft Modern Slavery Bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed the publication today of the report and draft Bill by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery.

Archbishop Justin

The Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, was a member of the Joint Select Committee, and the report can be read in full here. In March 2014, the Archbishop also gave his backing to the Global Freedom Network, an ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. You can read more about the Global Freedom Network here.

Archbishop Justin said: “I strongly welcome the report and draft Bill published today by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery, which has cross-party support. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Committee’s members for their efforts, and I would like to extend particular thanks to my colleague Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby, for his participation in the Committee’s work.

“I very much hope that the Home Office, as it prepares to publish its own Bill on Modern Slavery, will take the Committee’s recommendations extremely seriously. These include putting the rights of victims at the heart of the Bill; including effective provisions to recognise the increased vulnerability of children; and a clause that would encourage quoted companies to do more to ensure that their supply chains are free from slave labour. The Home Office has been a leader in the field of tackling modern slavery, and the determination of their approach is notable.

“I also hope that the Government will bring forward a Bill as quickly as possible to ensure there is sufficient time to get it through Parliament. I, along with many others, will be closely following the Bill’s passage, and I look forward to contributing to its scrutiny in the House of Lords.

“This pioneering bill sets a high standard for Governments around the world, who will be watching to see how our Government handles the issue of modern slavery. It is vital that it seizes this opportunity to continue to set a gold standard that others can follow. The launch of the Global Freedom Network last month showed that people of faith are determined to contribute to combating modern slavery and human trafficking. It is vital that we all work together to tackle this modern day evil so that all people live in freedom and dignity.”