Friday links: the Queen calls for Modern Slavery Act to be replicated and the Independent investigates car washes

Every Friday we share the latest news on modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. Keep up to date by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Queen calls for Modern Slavery Act to be replicated in Commonwealth nations

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is widely considered to be a seminal piece of legislation. In the UK it extended prison sentences for those convicted of modern slavery, gave the police new powers, and put pressure on large businesses to take responsibility for their supply chains. It was reported this week that the Queen has suggested that other nations in the Commonwealth create their own Act. 

The next Commonwealth heads of government meeting, which takes place in the UK in April 2018, is devoted to enhancing efforts to “eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour”. 

Slaves on our Streets: Exploitation rife in London's car washes, investigation finds

After reporting on comments from Bernard Hogan Howe, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, that slavery is present in many hand car washes, the Independent decided to do their own investigation into car washes in London. They found many of the signs of exploitation in the car washes they visited. Why not join us for our training on how to spot slavery in car washes on Monday 23rd October? 

It was similar to how people live in prisons in Romania. Have you seen the movie Ben Hur, when one of the women had leprosy and her hands were destroyed? That’s how the guys’ hands were – burned by the shampoo and acid.
— Mahai, a Romanian survivor of modern slavery, interviewed by the Independent

Human trafficking cases hit record high amid 'worrying' decline in conviction rates

The Independent reported that while cases of human trafficking have increased, conviction rates seem to be going down. Victims are often afraid to give evidence against their abusers, fearing reprisals against themselves or family. Reassurances by the government that they will be kept safe fall on deaf ears as many victims come with a mistrust of authority borne of experience in their home country. 

A report by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this week revealed that the volume of cases police have referred for prosecution rose by 10 per cent in the last year, from 246 in 2015-6 to 271 in 2016-17 – the highest volume ever recorded. Meanwhile, the number of human trafficking convictions fell in the same period by 6 per cent, from 192 to 181, with the conviction rate falling from 65.1 per cent to 61.4 per cent.

Sunday 15th October is Freedom Sunday, an ecumenical day of worship and action against modern slavery and human trafficking. You can get the pack from our resources page, if you're not able to include anything in this week's service, don't worry! The resources are applicable any Sunday of the year. This Wednesday is also Anti-Slavery Day, so there are lots of events going on around the country. We are holding a launch event for The Clewer Initiative on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we will be in Wells to hold three events in Wells Cathedral. Keep up with what we're doing on twitter!

That's it for this week! Keep up to date with us throughout the week by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, or sign up to our monthly newsletter