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4 Nov 2014

Amelia Gentleman, Guardian (UK)

UK: Govt's former special envoy for human trafficking warns Modern Slavery bill fails to focus on needs of victims

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The government’s modern slavery bill is a “lost opportunity,” the home secretary’s former special envoy for human trafficking has warned. Anthony Steen, who advised on the legislation and chairs the Human Trafficking Foundation, said the bill, which will be debated in parliament on Tuesday for its third reading, had “yawning gaps”, and failed to focus on the needs of victims of trafficking in the UK. “The bill is wholly and exclusively about law enforcement – but it shouldn’t be enforcement-based, it should be victim-based. We have majored on the wrong thing,” he said. “It is positive in the sense that it is an entirely new initiative, but is it going to do anything?”...Representatives from other charities working with the victims of human trafficking welcomed the recent announcement of an amendment requiring companies to show how they ensure their supply chains are “slavery free”. But they also expressed concern that the legislation focuses on prosecuting traffickers, rather than supporting victims of exploitation. Parosha Chandran, a human rights barrister and UN expert on trafficking, described the bill as “a red herring”. “I think the bill is very poor on victim protection. T