The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) has warned that the UK’s Illegal Migration Bill risks increasing human trafficking in the UK. The bill aims to “prevent and deter” unlawful migration by unsafe and illegal routes, introducing provisions to reform immigration, asylum, and modern slavery legislation. “This is a huge shift for the UK’s commitment to address modern slavery. The evidence on it is clear: the Act risks increasing trafficking in the UK,” Modern Slavery PEC said in a statement. Through the bill, the UK’s Home Secretary will have the powers to detain and remove those deemed to be entering the UK illegally. Members of the House of Lords rejected attempts to reinsert time limits on child detention and modern slavery protections. Modern Slavery PEC said that the Illegal Migration Bill could have “serious implications” for large numbers of people, providing for the denial of support, and the detention and deportation of those who are “recognised to be potential victims of modern slavery”. It added it will take “proactive steps” to monitor the implementation of the Act, including upcoming statutory guidance, and its “potential and emerging impact on people affected by modern slavery”.
"The Illegal Migration Act represents a ‘huge shift’ in the UK’s approach to modern slavery and risks increasing trafficking and modern slavery in the UK."
— Modern Slavery PEC (@SlaveryPEC) July 20, 2023