UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015

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Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
(b)the person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention.

(3)In determining whether a person is being held in slavery or servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour, regard may be had to all the circumstances.

(4)For example, regard may be had—
(a)to any of the person’s personal circumstances (such as the person being a child, the person’s family relationships, and any mental or physical illness) which may make the person more vulnerable than other persons;
(b)to any work or services provided by the person, including work or services provided in circumstances which constitute exploitation within section 3(3) to (6).

(5)The consent of a person (whether an adult or a child) to any of the acts alleged to constitute holding the person in slavery or servitude, or requiring the person to perform forced or compulsory labour, does not preclude a determination that the person is being held in slavery or servitude, or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Human trafficking

(1)A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.

(2)It is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).

UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015

The issue of protection for overseas domestic workers was a frustrating one. The draft Bill was silent on the plight of hundreds of workers enslaved in households in the UK. But, following sustained pressure and hands-on advocacy in which Anti-Slavery supported Kalayaan and others, a historic vote was taken in the House of Lords which brought back domestic workers’ right to leave an abusive employer. Unfortunately, the government remained deaf to our arguments and passed its own amendment requiring domestic workers to receive a positive decision from the National Referral Mechanism confirming they have been trafficked before allowing them to change employers. It is a bad decision that will deter domestic workers who face abuse and exploitation from coming forward to the authorities. On the other hand, it is a major achievement in itself that the Act now contains a specific provision on overseas domestic workers which is a gateway to getting better protection for this vulnerable group of workers in future. The fight on that issue continues.

Another momentous shift in the Government’s position was the introduction of the requirement for large companies to annually report on efforts to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains. We worked with a coalition of NGOs, business and investors to persuade the Government that mandatory, rather than voluntary, disclosure in relation to company supply chains is the way forward.

It is a shame then that a loophole has been identified which allows companies hide their supply chains overseas as long as the goods they produce don’t end up in Britain. This, for example, means letting off the hook companies building sites for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Finally, a major shortcoming in the Act is the lack of an extraterritoriality of slavery offence. This means that a British citizen could abuse someone overseas and not be held to account back in UK.

Big step in the right direction but deficiencies leave us – and victims of modern slavery – wholly unsatisfied“, AntiSlavery.org, by Klara Skrivankova

Freedom Dividend

The freedom Dividend is an extremely important concept. When people are freed from slavery – or extreme poverty – the entire community is transformed for the better.

Kevin Bales, an internationally recognized expert on modern slavery and freeing people from slavery explains the concept.

A longer explanation is provided by Michael Shelton on FreeTheSlaves.net (PDF) which includes the following:

In helping to build sustainable freedom for survivors of slavery, we see that in addition to personal liberation, there is a significant Freedom Dividend – a range of social and economic improvements that occur with the removal of individuals and groups from slavery. This freedom dividend is seen in a number of dimensions, including:

  • educational participation in girls and boys,
  • increased family incomes and payment of wages,
  • initiation of family asset formation
  • improved access to health services,
  • improved status and greater safety from violence of women and girls
  • increased political participation,
  • reduced corruption at the local level in terms of access to legal justice and in delivery of social and development services (such as access to water).

In addition, because former slaves are able to participate alongside other citizens in using public services and in local economic activity, there are improvements in social integration.

These benefits are most directly experienced by the former slaves, and they also directly affect the families of returning trafficking survivors. It is also believed (though not so far rigorously tested) that increased incomes and more efficient work practices of people coming out of slavery lead to a general upward spiral in local economic activity (including the incomes of those families who were NOT held in slavery). Also, to the extent that groups of people coming out of slavery achieve changes in government behavior, improvements in rule of law, and reduction of violence against women, this benefits a wider group of citizens.

Space Satellites Are Not Afraid Of YOU

The use of satellite imagery in the fight against human rights violations is both important and fascinating. Amnesty International explains the power of technology like this:

Importantly for efforts to secure justice and accountability for the gravest of crimes under international law, remote sensing is replicable, and offers evidentiary value as we move closer toward a system of international justice that minimizes impunity for these grave crimes. These relatively new data – such as remote sensing data and corresponding analysis – cannot be intimidated or threatened, and enjoy permanence that allows for even retrospective documentation.

Remote Sensing for Human Rights, Amnesty International

This technology was used to examine political prison labor camps in North Korea and produced hard evidence that the camps are not being shut down, as promised by the North Korean government. In fact, they appear to be growing in size.

The report contains copies of images and detailed analysis of those images. It also presents information from survivors, including the following:

According to testimonies from former inmates in kwanliso 15, all inmates were subject to forced labour for between 10 to 12 hours daily in dangerous conditions in the production facilities, mines, logging and farming. Failure to meet the work quotas could lead to reduction or discontinuation of food rations. According to a couple, Kim and Lee (full names withheld), who were detained in kwanliso 15 between 1999 and 2001,

“We worked in the farms (at kwanliso 15) from 7am to 8pm. We cultivated corn. We were divided to work in units comprising 10-15 people each. We were given a daily production target that we had to meet. If the unit did not meet the daily target, the unit-members were punished collectively. During the course of our three-year detention, often we did not meet our targets because we were always hungry and weak. We were punished with beatings and also reductions in our food quota. In addition to that, in the Ideology Struggle Sessions that were held after work, those who did not meet the target were severely criticized and beaten by other inmates.”

According to prison official Mr. Lee who worked in kwanliso 16, inmates used to spend most of their time working in dangerous conditions, were overworked and had very little time to rest. In most cases, they had to work until they fulfilled their work quotas. After their work, they had to attend self-criticism meetings. Only after these meetings were they allowed to rest; mostly between 12 midnight and 4am. He had witnessed accidents in the work place, many of which were fatal.

North Korea, New satellite images show continued investment in the infrastructure of repressionAmnesty International, October 2013

The same imagery was combined with Tomnod crowd sourcing to identify locations of illegal fishing on Lake Malta, known for rampant human rights violations, including a disturbingly large number of of child slaves.

Visit Tomnod to participate in currently running crowd sourced projects or review the results of past campaigns.

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Antislavery Resources: Modern Slave Narratives

Antislavery Then and Now has a long list of slave narratives or biographical stories told by former slaves. Every story is told by a victim of modern slavery who was freed during the near-recent past (approximately the last 10-20 years).

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

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Amazon.com

It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.

President Barack Obama

The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons leads the United States’ global engagement against human trafficking, an umbrella term used to describe the activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service.

The US Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Includes extensive research and practical instructions for How To Identify and Assist Trafficking Victims.

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The Protocol on Forced Labour

It’s a legally-binding treaty that requires governments to take new measures to tackle modern slavery in all its forms. It works on three main levels: protection, prevention and compensation. As an international treaty, countries must first ratify the Protocol before it enters into force.

50 For Freedom: The Protocol

50 For Freedom: Modern Slavery

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Visualizing Emancipation is a map of slavery’s end during the American Civil War. It finds patterns in the collapse of southern slavery, mapping the interactions between federal policies, armies in the field, and the actions of enslaved men and women on countless farms and city blocks. It encourages scholars, students, and the public to examine the wartime end of slavery in place, allowing a rigorously geographic perspective on emancipation in the United States.

Visualizing Emancipation (Map) (About) (Crowd Sourcing)

This map shows the cities where black abolitionists lectured in Britain. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives some idea of how far these men and women travelled – literally the length and breadth of the country!

Black Abolitionists Speaking Locations (Map) (About) (Home)

This map shows the cities where Frederick Douglass lectured in Britain. It also shows the emerging industrialism within Britain – a railway boom was sweeping the nation in the 1840s, and the routes Douglass travelled align almost exactly with new railway lines. For example, the line from Bristol to Exeter via Taunton in the South West, and the route from Sheffield to Edinburgh. In some parts of Scotland, transport was fairly limited, and you can see Douglass hugged the coastline around Aberdeen – he was speaking so often that it was necessary to reach places easily and as quickly as possible.

Frederick Douglass Speaking Locations (Map) (About) (Home)

The animated thematic map Slave Revolt in Jamaica narrates the spatial history of a large-scale slave uprising in 18th-century Jamaica.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The actual number is estimated to have been as high as 12.5 million. The database and the separate estimates interface offer researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

An interactive map created from this database can be seen in many places.