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Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

We recognise the key importance of safeguarding vulnerable individuals/groups and of raising awareness of potential and actual vulnerability in East Suffolk.

The overall aims of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 are to pursue organised criminals and opportunistic individuals behind the modern-day slave trade and to prevent people from engaging in modern slavery crime. Other aims are to protect vulnerable people by raising awareness and protecting them from becoming victims and to be better prepared for when these crimes do take place in order to reduce the harm they cause.

Modern Slavery is estimated to be one of the world's most profitable criminal activities. A 2014 assessment conducted by the Home Office estimated that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 victims in the UK. Sexual exploitation is the most common form of modern slavery currently reported by potential victims in the UK, followed by labour exploitation, forced criminal exploitation and domestic servitude.

Legal duty for councils

The legal duty relates to the functions of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner whose role is to act in the interests of victims and potential victims by ensuring that the law enforcement/public authority response to modern slavery is coordinated.

Section 43 of the Act states that specified public authorities (including District Councils) have a duty to co-operate with the Commissioner:

  • The Commissioner may request a specified public authority to co-operate with the Commissioner in any way that the Commissioner considers necessary for the purposes of the Commissioner's functions.
  • A specified public authority must so far as reasonably practicable comply with a request made to it under this section.

Section 52 of the Act requires the Council to notify the Secretary of State upon developing reasonable grounds to believe that a person may be a victim of slavery or human trafficking.

For enquiries or more information, contact the Councils Lead officer for Safeguarding issues.