Amendment 22

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords am 8:15 pm ar 4 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Butler-Sloss Baroness Butler-Sloss Chair, Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee), Chair, Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee) 8:15, 4 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I have put my name to the four amendments tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Etherton. I support everything he says and, since we are on Report, I do not propose to add to it. I also have my own Amendment 42. I declare an interest as the co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery and the deputy chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation.

I spoke to this in Committee. Quite simply, and taking on what the noble and learned Lord has just said, this is a very special group of people who are in this country not because they have chosen to take the boat trip but because they have been brought here, by boat, lorry or some other route, and they are victims. When one starts complaining about people who should have stopped in France because France is a safe country, it absolutely does not apply to victims of modern slavery. They are here on an involuntary basis and need to be regarded in a totally different way.

Since I have been opposing much of the Rwanda Bill, I have heard endlessly, “What is it that you or other opposition would do to improve the situation of those crossing the channel?” I deeply regret those crossing the channel and I do not have an answer, but I do not believe that the need to stop people crossing the channel in a dangerous situation is any reason to pass an utterly shocking Bill. It is constitutionally incorrect and does not look at genuine victims, such as those victims of modern slavery. It is no answer to those of us who cannot accept what is going wrong in this country and what is going wrong in this Bill that, because we cannot offer an answer to the people crossing the channel, therefore we should be disregarded. Modern slavery is one of the most shocking crimes, making vast sums for perpetrators across the world. About a third to half the victims of modern slavery come to this country. The Government are ignoring the plight of this most vulnerable group of people. I hope that, at this last moment, they will think again about victims of modern slavery.