Bishop of Derby leads call for stronger powers for agencies tackling modern slavery

On 25th February 2015, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, tabled an amendment to the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment sought to strengthen and improve the resources of enforcement agencies who may be required to deal with groups engaged in modern slavery and human trafficking. The amendment was withdrawn, following assurances from the Minister that the Government would bring forward its own proposals at Third Reading.

The Bishop also spoke in favour of a group of amendments to the Bill relating to the transparency of supply chains. 

Amendment 92 – Enforcement Agencies

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank my colleagues, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, for their support for this amendment. I also place on record my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Bates. With others, we have been extremely grateful for the patient and kind way he has listened to us, engaged with us and put on special meetings on various subjects. The point of this amendment is to highlight the fact that both the Government and many of us involved in this issue are learning a great deal as we go along. Therefore, there is a proper space for consultation, review and further learning to be done. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby leads call for stronger powers for agencies tackling modern slavery”

Bishop of Carlisle supports amendment to protect domestic workers from slavery

On 25th February 2015, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in support of an amendment to the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop co-sponsored the amendment which sought to provide additional protections for overseas domestic workers at risk of exploitation. The amendment was put to a division of the House and was subsequently accepted. More details on the vote can be found here.

14.06.09 Bishop of CarlisleThe Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, several of the amendments to this important Bill have been introduced as filling a gap in the legislation. That is especially true of Amendment 90. As the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Royall of Blaisdon, have said, it will assist all private and diplomatic domestic workers by providing a measure of protection and flexibility otherwise lacking in the Bill. It will also enable those who have been victims of modern slavery to remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period while seeking alternative employment. That is why I am glad to have my name attached to the amendment. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle supports amendment to protect domestic workers from slavery”

Bishop of Derby calls for strong National Referral Mechanism to support efforts to tackle modern slavery

On 10th December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop spoke in support of an amendment to put a new National Referral Mechanism on a statutory footing, and also raised questions about how the Government’s approach towards tackling slavery could be better integrated with safeguarding awareness. The Bishop had previously spoken in the Bill’s Committee Stage, and his remarks can be read here.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I will contribute briefly to the debate. I hope the Government will take the time to take seriously the NRM review. Jeremy Oppenheim has made some crucial insights, particularly about the 45 days being used as a period for deciding about judicial processes, not a period for nourishment and proper support. Therefore, we need to think very carefully about how we pitch the 45 days or whatever period it is, alongside a commitment to support victims on a longer timescale. He also made an important point about the concept of safeguarding, just referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Warner. I have spoken about this before in the House. It would be very helpful for everybody if we could connect what we are doing about slavery with the culture of safeguarding awareness. I very much support the suggestion from the noble Lord, Lord Warner, about what we call this mechanism. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for strong National Referral Mechanism to support efforts to tackle modern slavery”

Bishop of Derby speaks during Modern Slavery Bill debate

Bishop of DerbyOn 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.
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Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on Modern Slavery Bill

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.

DerbyThe 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”

Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on slavery and its use in supply chains

“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.

Bishop of DerbyThe 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”

Human Trafficking – Question from Bishop of Derby

On 22nd September 2014 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, received a written answer to a question on child victims of human trafficking.
Bishop of Derby
Home Office – Human Trafficking (HL1545)
Asked by the Lord Bishop of Derby on 28 July 2014:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many child victims of human trafficking were interviewed in 2013 by competent authority staff, as opposed to specialist interviewers.

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