Friday links: Modern Slavery Act not working, Kanye West controversy, and more

On Fridays 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 share the article, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Modern Slavery: co-ordinated action critical to helping victims

The Public Accounts Committee put in place to assess the effect of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 released a report on Wednesday 2nd May criticising the Act and the government's implementation of it. Some of the most glaring problems highlighted in the report include the lack of minimum standards for the care of victims, no strategy to decide what success looks like for preventing and prosecuting the crime and that the government does not know how much money it spends tackling modern slavery. 

Victims of modern slavery can face unimaginable horrors but the Government’s good intentions have yet to result in coherent action to help them. Government cannot hope to target resources in an effective manner until it properly understands the scale and nature of the challenge. This crime is complex and a piecemeal approach will not cut it.
— Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee

Kanye West criticised by campaigners for 'unhelpful' stance on slavery

Comments made by hip hop artist and fashion designer Kanye West about the slave trade have been widely criticised by campaigners on modern slavery as being 'unhelpful'. West was being interviewed by TMZ, a celebrity gossip site when he said 'When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.' Widespread criticism led to West saying on twitter that his comments had been misunderstood. 

Suggesting anyone chooses a life of abuse and exploitation is incredibly unhelpful and disrespectful to those who have experienced slavery and those who are still being treated in this way
— Justine Currell, Unseen

Landlord made tenants work in takeaway without pay, court told

Newcastle Crown Court is hearing this week about a landlord who allegedly made his tenants work without pay in his takeaway, while subjecting them to punishments like being made to work barefoot or removing their belt. He is also accused of supplying them with drugs such as Diazepam to keep them compliant. He denies the charges. 

Hostile environment undermines UK Government’s modern slavery agenda

An opinion piece from FLEX - Focus on Labour Exploitation - makes the point that the hostile environment on immigration, which has been in the news a lot recently due to the Windrush scandal, has also created a climate in which victims of modern slavery are less likely to come forward if there are any questions around their immigration status. 

Identification of victims of trafficking takes trust, support and the availability and offer of a positive alternative. Immigration control breaks trust, is not victim centred, and risks returning victims to countries where they will be re-trafficked.

That's it from us this week. Keep up to date with us the rest of the week by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Photo by Darran Shen on Unsplash