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Inquiry starts: trafficking for sexual exploitation

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Frank Fields, Maria Miller, Baroness Butler-Sloss, inquiry, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, England and Wales, robust laws, The problem is growing and needs to be addressed urgently.

A cross-party panel, led by MPs Frank Field and Maria Miller and Baroness Butler-Sloss, has launched an inquiry into trafficking for sexual exploitation in England and Wales.

The inquiry is a follow-up to the government’s commissioned review of the Modern Slavery Act, and will investigate whether the current legal framework makes Britain a more attractive destination for those involved in trafficking adults for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The government commissioned Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to hold an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act in 2018, and the findings of the inquiry were published in May 2019.

It found that in 2018 the number of potential victims of modern slavery rose by a third to almost 7,000 people, with up to a quarter trafficked for sexual exploitation – and the problem is growing and needs to be addressed urgently.

In the final report of the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act, Frank Field MP announced that he, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss would be “undertaking a scoping review into laws surrounding prostitution in England and Wales and the extent to which they help or hinder police action against trafficking for sexual exploitation.”

This follow-up inquiry into trafficking for sexual exploitation will hear evidence over the summer and publish its findings and recommendations in the autumn.

Evidence will be gathered from police, prosecutors, NGOs, victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and international representatives.

Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said: “Trafficking for sexual exploitation is an abhorrent crime, and this country should do everything in its power to prevent and end this form of modern slavery.

“Whilst previous legislation has made a start, there is much more to be done to ensure that the UK does not inadvertently become a safe haven for criminals who wish to perpetrate this abuse of human rights.”

Frank Field MP said: “The next task in reinforcing Britain as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery is to see whether the law in this country encourages traffickers to bring people to Britain for the purposes of sexual exploitation, as against nearby countries which have a different legislative framework.

“This will be the basis for our inquiry.”

And Maria Miller MP said: “Nobody should ever feel forced or coerced into sexual activity, nor should a person’s vulnerability be exploited for someone else’s gain.

“The sexual exploitation of modern-day slaves is an appalling crime and we must ensure our laws are as robust as possible to stop this abuse from being perpetrated.”

If you would like to submit evidence to this inquiry, please send your answers to the questions below to modernslaveryactreview@gmail.com giving your name and if relevant your organisation:

1 – What impact do current laws relating to prostitution and modern slavery have on the scale and nature of trafficking for sexual exploitation into and around England and Wales?

2 – How could the government improve the laws to reduce trafficking for sexual exploitation?

The word limit for submissions is 1500 words.

The deadline for written submissions to the inquiry is 30 August 2019.

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