Letter to the press on 'slavery'

Delivered by Margot Parker on 3 August 2016

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To The Editor,


Dear Sir/Madam,


One of the best things Theresa May did as Home Secretary was the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill in 2015. One year on it looks like our law enforcement mechanisms are beginning to take a bite out of this heinous trade in human misery - albeit a very small bite it seems.


With estimates of modern slaves in the UK running as high as 13,000 it is more than a little concerning only 289 prosecutions were made in the time since modern slavery has been a governmental priority. Numbers of prosecutions would doubtless be far higher if police funding has not been so devastatingly cut since David Cameron become Prime Minister in 2010.


Despite this mostly encouraging start, many of the circumstances which fuel modern slavery have not even begun to be adequately addressed, especially when it comes to the majority of foreign-born victims.


The one-year-on review has revealed many of those bound in slavery in the UK come from EU countries (Poland and Romania were highlighted) - their ending up in their situation while resident in the UK is certainly tied to free movement of people and the relative ease of human trafficking within the EU itself.


As Theresa May is also dedicated to fighting modern slavery outside the UK, including a investing a small portion of our inflated foreign aid budget, she should perhaps look very closely at the EU itself beyond simply EU citizens being so exploited.


The sheer numbers of people coming into the EU has lead to enormous numbers of people simply disappearing, including more than 10,000 children. Without doubt many will be trapped in forced domestic or commercial work, sexual exploitation and other situations which have been rightly defined as slavery.


The United Kingdom banned slavery in 1833 and over the rest of the 19th century became the lead force in stamping it out throughout the civilised world. It is quite fitting we take a similar role in the 21st century.




Margot Parker, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands



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