On 1st December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the first day of Committee Stage for the Modern Slavery Bill. A former member of the Joint Select Committee that undertook the pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill, the Bishop spoke in favour of three amendments to the bill – one relating to ensuring that the legislation is ‘victim focused’, the second – recommended by the Joint Select Committee and co-sponsored by the Bishop – to create a specific offence for child exploitation, where a child has been exploited but not moved or trafficked, and the third to make criminalise all paying for sexual services. Following assurances from the Government of further discussions, the first two amendments were withdrawn. The third amendment was withdrawn following the recognition the the Bill was not an appropriate place for changes to be made to the law on prostitution. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks during Modern Slavery Bill debate”
I wonder whether there is some way of privileging people once they have been recognised as having been exploited or enslaved, to give them a different way of accessing benefits and support because they have been enslaved and treated as commodities. That would make an enormous difference.
On 17th November 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop, who was a member of the Joint Select Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, welcomed the progress that had been made in bringing the Bill to its current form. He noted that concerns about the commodification of humans through slavery required further thinking on supply chain accounting and other aspects of the legislation, and also raised questions about how best the vicitms of trafficking and slavery could be supported by the state.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I was privileged to be on the Joint Select Committee and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bates, on his very positive introduction. I also express my appreciation to the Government for listening and being willing to negotiate and explore options as this legislation unfolds.
I remind your Lordships that this is not just a huge and wicked crime. It is, as the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, says, increasing as we talk, massively. It treats human beings as commodities to be traded. The challenge of this legislation is to stop this practice. I am delighted that the Government are committed to producing a slavery strategy to complement the Bill and I hope that many of our concerns can be refined through that strategy. I would like to raise three of four things that might benefit from further scrutiny and wider debate in our process. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on Modern Slavery Bill”
“We live in a culture that is rightly concerned about safeguarding. We are concerned rightly about the safeguarding of children at the moment. We have to get up to speed with the safeguarding of vulnerable adults, many of whom are in exploited forced labour.”
On 30th October 2014, Baroness Kennedy of Cradley led a short debate in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to combat slavery in supply chains nationally and internationally. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, a former member of the Joint Select Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, spoke in the debate. He argued that there is a deep underlying tension between economic activity and treatment of the individual, which the modern slave trade has exploited. He also asked the Minister a number of questions regarding the strengthing of reporting and best practice in supply chains.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, for securing this debate and for her excellent introduction that laid out the ground clearly. I want to make some remarks from my experience of working with victims, the police and other agencies within our national context. We have just heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, about the sheer horror of the way in which human beings are being treated in our own country.
I begin by welcoming Karen Bradley’s recent announcement that there will be amendments to secure proper reporting and disclosure. The key will be the level of reporting and the size of the company. I also welcome the strong support from many leaders in our industries. On the Select Committee, the people who represented Primark and Tesco, for instance, were supportive of a framework to require proper reporting and accountability, which would help their business case and standing in the community. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on slavery and its use in supply chains”
On 21st July 2014, the Church of England’s Foreign Policy Adviser, Dr Charles Reed, gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The transcript of the evidence session, at which Dr Reed and Cecilia Taylor-Camara (Head of the Bishops Conference Office for Migration Policy, Catholic Bishops for England and Wales) gave evidence, is reproduced in full below.
Q24The Chair: For this session we have until 4.45 pm. Will the witnesses please introduce themselves for the record?
Cecilia Taylor-Camara: I am Cecilia Taylor-Camara, senior policy adviser to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
The Chair: I ask the witnesses to speak up a little. This is rather a large room and the sound is not brilliant, so please shout if necessary.
“We do not look just to our neighbours but to strangers. We are not just interested in economic viability but in what is morally right. That is where the energy of the charity sector comes from, and why there is that great British tradition we have heard of—not because it is economically efficient but because it is morally right” – Bishop of Derby, 26.6.14
On 26th June 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in Baroness Scott of Needham Market’s take note debate on the role played by the voluntary and charitable sectors. He spoke of the distinctive nature of the voluntary and charitable sectors, how they can learn from the world of business but must not simply become businesses, and how they must be afforded the freedom and flexibility to deliver their own unique contribution to communities.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness and her party for securing this debate. We talk in a context in which certainly many of the charities and voluntary and faith groups that I am involved with are in crisis, with rising demand and costs and reduced funding. That context is the ending of the welfare state. I remind the House that when the welfare state was conceived, Sidney and Beatrice Webb saw it as having three charity and voluntary work purposes: to meet basic needs, to bring people into association with each other, and to create partnership and participation. Of course, the welfare state became totally focused on meeting basic needs rather than on the richer political ecology of dignifying people, associating with them and bringing them into partnership. Many of us in the charitable and voluntary sector have got drawn into that game of meeting basic needs through projects. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks of unique contribution of the voluntary sector to society”
“This modern crime is not just about technical ingenuity; it is about people choosing the freedom to abuse others and society” – Bishop of Derby, 16/6/14
On 16th June 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Serious Crime Bill. In his speech, he addressed the Bill’s provisions to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – having served on the Joint Committee which provided the pre-legislative scrutiny to the Modern Slavery Bill – and also the need for joined-up work across government and civil society to challenge the sub-culture of exploitation and greed that drives organised crime and criminality.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I very much welcome this Bill and think it is timely and appropriate. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and his colleagues at the Home Office on pointing us in this direction. Noble Lords will have seen in the briefing that it is based on a strategy described as the four Ps: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. For somebody like me, such laboured alliteration might indicate an overambitious sermon and I want to check the level of the ambition and what might be appropriate.
“NHS staff may often be the only point of contact that trafficked individuals have with society…This is just one of many reasons why the significant reduction in chaplaincy hours by some trusts seems to be short-sighted and ill advised”- Bishop of Carlisle, 9/6/14
In the sixth response from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Rev James Newcome, focused on health matters, drawing special attention to the need for action on elderly social care and on the health aspects of proposed legislation on modern slavery. He also criticised some Trusts for the recent significant reduction in chaplaincy hours.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, that the quantity of legislation does not equate to its quality. As we have already heard, we doubtless all agree that the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the NHS deserve a bit of a rest. However, there are none the less those who regret the fact that so little of the gracious Speech related directly to health. For instance, the charity Age UK expressed its disappointment that an opportunity was lost to put in place safeguarding legislation that would have helped prevent the abuse of older people.
“Our challenge will be: how does the state craft a strategy that delivers mercy?” – Bishop of Derby, 9/6/14
In the fourth response from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, on 9th June 2014 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, welcomed the Modern Slavery Bill and, as a former member of the committee that examined the draft bill, made some suggestions for how it could be improved even more.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I should like to offer some comments on the welcome proposal set out by the Government in the gracious Speech to introduce the modern slavery Bill. I had the privilege of serving on the Joint Select Committee with other Members of your Lordships’ House under the superb chairmanship of Frank Field MP, and we all came to an agreement on a number of important issues. I want to comment on and offer some suggestions as to how we might handle the debate on this important topic, not least because much of the world is looking to see the terms in which such a Bill might be couched and how it is introduced. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby welcomes Modern Slavery Bill during Queen’s Speech debate”