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CSJ inspired landmark Modern Slavery Bill, says Home Secretary Theresa May

New measures announced this week could make the UK a world leader in the fight against modern slavery, it has been claimed.

The Government on Monday unveiled a draft Modern Slavery Bill – which the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) called for in its report It Happens Here in March.

The legislation will offer better protection for victims, harsher punishment for perpetrators and will see an Anti-Slavery Commissioner appointed to hold authorities and other organisations to account.

Tougher sanctions will be brought in to deter traffickers under the proposals, and there is an aim to increase the maximum custodial sentence for offenders from 14 years to life.

It is also hoped the Bill will correct a misunderstanding that has seen many victims of modern slavery who have been trafficked from abroad treated first as illegal immigrants or criminals.

When asked at Monday's launch what motivated the Government to introduce the Bill, Home Secretary Theresa May said it was the CSJ that had “brought the issue into sharp focus”.

In recent months the CSJ has hosted a series of evidence sessions to help shape the Bill. At the sessions, led by Labour MP Frank Field, experts from the UK and the international community outlined what they think should be included in the legislation. The resulting report – Establishing Britain as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery – was published this week.

Andrew Wallis, who chaired the CSJ’s Working Group on Modern Slavery, took part in a host of media interviews about the Bill, including: BBC News, BBC Newsnight and Radio 4’s PM show.

Regulations holding back small charities, new CSJ report warns

Red tape and regulation are holding back the voluntary sector, according to a major new CSJ report.

Rules intended to protect workers' rights are inadvertently deterring small charities from competing for government contracts when services are put out for competitive tender.

This means that the Government is being held back in its drive to ensure there is a greater variety of public service providers.

The report, Something’s Got to Give, which will be published this weekend, was previewed by the Telegraph earlier this week. It outlines how small charities are suffering disproportionately at present with wealth in the sector concentrated in a small number of big brand charities.

The study includes a survey of members of the CSJ's Alliance of small and medium-sized community-based charities and found that the survival of some is at stake. One in five of the charities polled said that they were at risk of having to close their doors. This is partly because charitable giving remains low and while the Government has pioneered some initiatives, many of these are yet to bear full fruit.

Christian Guy, CSJ Director, said: “The voluntary sector remains one of this nation’s strongest untapped resources. It is not a luxury to be purchased in days of plenty; it is one of the ladders that can help Britain climb out of the slump.

“For the voluntary sector to be unleashed to do what it does best, the Government and the voluntary sector need to chart a new course in their relationship.”

The full report, which is part of the Breakthrough Britain II project, will be available this weekend here.