Coffee House

Forget zombies – the Queen is fighting slavery

4 June 2014

4 June 2014

Two years ago a well-known MP told me that the Centre for Social Justice was wasting our time chasing political action against slavery, because it wasn’t a ‘doorstep issue’. I’m rather glad I didn’t take that advice because, as Theresa May has said, our 2013 report It Happens Here sparked the vital changes we will hear from the Queen today.

Later this morning Elizabeth II will open Parliament for the 61st time. Labour claims she’ll have nothing much to say, with Shadow ministers attacking an impending ‘zombie parliament’.

This is unfair. Especially because nestled in Her Majesty’s speech will be a landmark Modern Slavery Bill. The publication of that Bill, surprisingly undersold by the Coalition, will be an exciting and symbolic moment for our country.

There’ll be much to welcome within in. An independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be created to hold ministers to account and measures will be introduced to confront the criminals who enslave adults and children, including increasing maximum sentences to life imprisonment. Public authorities will also be required to report potential trafficking victims rather than overlook them. This represents major progress.

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But without one other clause it will be nation-changing rather than world-leading legislation.

For the Coalition should seize its opportunity to present a Bill that also includes new anti-slavery measures for businesses. Importing the success of a Californian scheme, backed by Wallmart and Microsoft among other corporate giants, would forge a dynamic new partnership between employers and Government. By asking large companies in the UK to report how they have sought slave-free supply chains, we could save lives.

Rejecting this clause as ‘anti-business’ and onerous, as some in Government claim it could be, would be a mistake.

It has worked in the United States, it has cross-party support and it has the endorsement of leading campaigners. More importantly though, renowned British business leaders and employers – including the likes of Sir Richard Branson and the Co-op – have already backed it and want to help.

There’s also little doubt that if the Coalition ducks it Labour will table the idea in amendment form. This could delay the Bill and allow Yvette Cooper and the Opposition to take political credit on the world stage.

But action now on supply chains would set the tone for the watching global community and bring British business into the battle against slavery.

I am sure by now the Queen is very bored of opening Parliament. Today though she should take heart – for the thousands of slavery victims in our country this could be 61st time lucky. Especially if she means business.

Christian Guy is Director at the Centre for Social Justice

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Show comments
  • Ted Cunterblast

    Yeah, because getting rid of slavery worked out soooo well for Americans.

  • Manfredo Felice

    More importantly, this is the first time I’ve seen Sebastian Payne–remarkable that he precisely resembles the image I drew from his voice.

  • Q46

    I know what justice is, so ‘social’ justice must be something different.

    Would it be the ‘justice’ of Socialism of which we have borne abundant witness for nearly 100 years, the sort of justice the People get in North Korea, got in the USSR and now enjoy in that paragon of ‘social’ justice Venezuela?

  • Blindsideflanker

    Who wants a resolution to the West Lothian question and have tax changing powers similar to the powers the Government is giving the Scots and Welsh when we can get to directly elect officials to run national parks?

  • Blindsideflanker

    If we had half decent control of our borders there wouldn’t be an issue with slavery here.

    The core of the bill though will be allowing illegals more rights to stay here.

  • swatnan

    Little chance of getting through because it might upset the Saudis and Gulf States and islamofacists. But its a worthwhile thought, which Labour might pick up when we eventually get into power.

    • Grey Wolf

      ”we eventually get into power”?

      Weren’t you relocating?

  • ADW

    “There’s also little doubt that if the Coalition ducks it Labour will table the idea in amendment form. This could delay the Bill and allow Yvette Cooper and the Opposition to take political credit on the world stage.”

    Ok I’m sure that will encourage them. After all, they wouldn’t want to stop slavery because it’s wrong, they’d only want to stop it in order to grand stand on the “world stage”.

    Since, as I’ve said below, this will involve immigration controls and holding minority communities to the same standard as the majority, it breaks two fundamental rules of the liberal left. I assume, therefore, that the Centre for Social Justice agrees with me that those two rules need to be broken, and applaud this breaking of the left-wing ranks.

  • ADW

    “bored of” – have all the subeditors been sacked recently?

    This is all to the good, but it will involve stronger immigration controls to prevent people being smuggled in to the country and to establish that those brought in openly are done so legally and not under some ruse to cover the fact that they are being trafficked.

    It will also involve some scrutiny of the practices of minority communities, so is a non-starter for the British state on that count alone. The full weight of the liberal outrage specialists was turned on the unlawful travelling community eviction in Essex a while back, with Vanessa Redgrave et al grandstanding for the “beautiful community” as a Graun commentator put it. A few weeks later it emerged that a lot of homeless and other vulnerable people had been kept as slaves by other travelling community. Result – silence from almost all the liberal left, with a few offering the usual excuse that it was a “tiny minority” and could therefore be ignored.

  • La Fold

    This all seems to be a bit of political fluffery designed to pull at the heart strings, show everyone what a compassionate bunch our politicians are and to cement some egos places in history. However is what we are dealing with actually comparable to the ancient, legally and socially acceptable and universal institution of slavery? Or is it just modern day criminaltiy pure and simple?
    It seems to me that the perpertrators human trafficking, the gang masters and pimps who exploit poor people from even poorer countries already seemed to be covered by the existing criminal laws of the land as well as immigration laws.

  • Grey Wolf

    Centre for Social Justice!
    You can smell progressive horse-dung right there in the name!

    • La Fold

      How can any one be against not just justice, but SOCIAL JUSTICE?!!

      • Grey Wolf

        You should quickly run through the website – idiocy drips from every page. Don’t spend too much time there – you will never get those moments back.

        • La Fold

          Ill do it for a giggle. I can imagine it uses the word communities, issues and framework a lot and no doubt can be translated into Urdu, Ulster Scots and Esperanto too?

        • La Fold

          Lasted about 30 seconds before Diane “West indian mums go to the wall for their kids” Abbot came up followed by that intellectual heavyweight Davina “Used to be a raging cokehead” McCall.

          • Grey Wolf

            We stand at sad juncture of history when progressives and traitor neo-cons call themselves conservative, when the white working class has no political representation, and charlatans dominate politics and media while patriots are demonised.

  • global city

    The main reason for the lack of activity, the massive amount of extended breaks and the limited focus of so much legislation is not down to the coalition or set term parliament, it is entirely down to the fact that so much of the work the House of Commons used to have to do is now done by the EU and it’s agents, the quangos.

    Why the MSM do not understand the extent to which the people have lost democratic control just goes to show how little most of them actually put into the understanding of the nuts and bolts of the project.

    Being anti EU is NOT being anti foreigner or isolationist, as the eurofreaks like to assert (by way of deflection)… it is a vital stance in support of the fundamentals of democratic control, the birthright of everyone in this country…. including that of the MSM.

    • HookesLaw

      Yawn, typical numpty rubbish. Very little and nothing of importance is decided by the EU as opposed to our own parliament. We are not in the euro. But you have to keep perpetiatingf your myths as do your other nutjob friends.
      In terms of single market regs we would still obey them even if not in the EU, just like Norway. And if we left the EU then its likely we would like Norway be required to join Schengen as part of a trade deal.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and in 11.0 months, your boy Dave’s head will still be going on top of a spike.

      • global city

        are you too stupid to understand the propaganda based flaws in the ‘fax democracy’ meme all you tory fools parrot?

        • saffrin

          Hooky is part of the EU propaganda team.
          Hooky plays Tory.
          telemachus plays at being Labour.

  • @PhilKean1

    There wouldn’t be any need to bring in a modern “slavery” Bill –

    – if Britain was not in the EU and had proper control of her borders.

    I mean, everything bad that is happening is because of the EU.

    * Housing shortage = EU
    * Collapsing NHS = EU
    * Hard-working Brits unable to get jobs so they can pay their bills and feed their families = EU
    * So-called “modern slavery” = EU
    * Britain’s declining economic and military power = EU
    * Increased murders, ATM, credit card, fraud, begging and gang crime = EU

    The only way to repair the damage is to leave the EU.

    • monty61

      Comedy I assume? How on earth are the housing shortage or mismanagement of the NHS the fault of the EU?

      • monty61

        Actually it is quite amusing and shows the common thread between the Scot Gnats and UKIP, each have something external to blame for ALL perceived woes. No personal responsibility required.

        • Grey Wolf

          ”No personal responsibility required”

          Wrong. I am perfectly willing to hold YOU and progressive Europhiles like you PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE.

          • HookesLaw

            Ohhh shouty shouty.
            The fact is Kean is spouting rubbish, like all you howling mad kippers. The point and comparison Monty makes is valid.

            • @PhilKean1

              Shame we don’t have room – (and it would be discourteous to others) – to debate this so I can publicly dismantle your argument.

              And you KNOW you’d get slaughtered !

              • Grey Wolf

                Hookes Law is sadness personified. He has no argument to demolish. He, in fact, has no recollection when he last had a thought.

                • @PhilKean1

                  I have noticed that.

                  His argument seems limited to rabid denials and insults.

            • saffrin

              We want our country back. If you love the EU so much, move to Luxembourg.

        • Tony_E

          We are responsible for many problems in the UK- but a good number are made worse by the EU and the ECHR. For example, we could have made welfare contributory, which would solve some problems and make us less of a draw to immigration. But we had to do it for everyone, not just those coming in otherwise it would be illegal under EU law.

        • saffrin

          No personal responsibility available since we haven’t been asked since 1973 or had an option to change anything until Nigel Farage became widely recognised as the only true option.

      • @PhilKean1

        There is none so blind as the rabid Europhile who refuses to see.

      • Tony_E

        Monty, the NHS has been damaged by a lack of ability to restrict rising demand, and the changes forced upon trainee doctors by the Working time directive. Check the situation in Maternity services – the birth rate changed massively with the rise in immigrant communities.

        The housing shortage has also been exacerbated by immigration from the EU, most of the jobs that have been taken by immigrants were jobs that would have gone to younger unqualified workers, still living at home. So employment hasn’t necessarily grown more than it would have but housing demand has, and that drives both Youth unemployment and the fall in GDP per head, leaving less money per person for housing across the population as a whole.

        Immigration is not the source of all ills, we might be able to support a rising population given time to adjust. But the speed of the population growth over the last decade has totally outstripped our ability to adapt our services, infrastructure and housing.

        Modern slavery has been certainly made more of an issue in the UK by the EU – because free movement means free movement of slaves, many of whom are trafficked to the UK from Eastern Europe. That would not have happened if the EU has prevented movement of labour until there had been an equalisation of economies of the Accession countries.

        Unintended consequences.

  • Last Man Standing

    This Government has done nothing about the scandal of tens of thousands of young girls in this country every year having their genitals mutilated and suffering torture of the worst kind. Why should we believe it will do anything about slavery? There are more slaves here in the UK than there were whenever white British people bought and sold slaves.

    While third world cultures are treated equally with our own, or worse, given preferential treatment, we should not be surprised that third world attitudes to women and girls – and most slaves in the UK are women and girls – have an ever increasing impact and effect.

    • Grey Wolf

      The vile FGM practitioners should have their citizenship revoked and their butts kicked back harshly to 3rd world hell-holes they come from. But will Christian Guy and his BS organisation say that? Highly unlikely.

    • HookesLaw

      Tens of thousands? By my understanding you are therefor hinting at 30,000 cases a year.
      FGM is a serious business and throwing around bogus figures is no help. Studies put the figure at 3 to 4 thousand, which is bad enough. Figures show about 1000 cases treated a year.
      Interestingly we use an EU fund to run a helpline.

    • La Fold

      If you read the report,
      “In 2011, of the 2077 potential victims
      of modern slavery identified by the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), 40 per cent of the individuals were male.”
      So the majority may be female but its very far from most.

  • goatmince

    Oh thank God for that then, I feared we’d have to read about yet another resignation this week …

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …are any of your sockpuppets resigning, lad?

      I hope not this one. The sheep that you think is a goat is my fav of your sockpuppets.

  • Tony_E

    Rather than this proposal from California on extra territorial slavery and reporting, surely the WTO or the EU (because we no longer control tariff levels), should look at the legislation in countries with slavery issues and set high tariff walls against them until they enforce freedom of employment contract in law.

    They already have in place the physical organisation,and the access to information, and that would be attacking the problem closer to the source rather than trying to force British firms to be the world’s anti slavery policeman.

    Doing it this way would also help European firms compete with the third world, because they would be competing on a more level playing field, either by raising employment standards outside the EU, or forcing up the prices of goods to less competitive levels from countries who use slave labour to undercut those who don’t.

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