Clause 17 - Meaning of “relevant offender”

Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 9 Medi 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of David Crausby David Crausby Llafur, Bolton North East

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clause 18 stand part.

Clause 19 stand part.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

It is helpful to group these clauses together. I want to make only a couple of comments. I have nothing to say on clause 17, so the Minister can put away her notes on that, unless she wishes to contribute.

Clause 18 concerns the effect of slavery and trafficking prevention orders. Subsection (1) says bluntly:

“A slavery and trafficking and prevention order is an order prohibiting the defendant from doing anything described in the order.”

Before we pass the clause—which, for the benefit of the doubt, I wish to do—it is important that the Minister deliberates and tells the Committee in more detail what is meant by

“from doing anything described in the order”.

I am interested to know what measures the Minister believes the order could contain. These are important matters, with important liberties potentially being withdrawn. We had a lot of debate with my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North on the issue of control orders when dealing with terrorism offences. At the moment, under clause 18(1), the order could describe anything. It could put any restriction on an individual; it could limit contact by phone, e-mail or movement. It could force movement. It could mean a whole range of things. It is important that the Minister clearly sets out for the Committee what areas are likely to be in the order.

Clause 18(3) states:

“The order may prohibit the defendant from doing things in any part of the United Kingdom, and anywhere outside the United Kingdom.”

We have debated control orders, and terrorism prevention and investigation measures, which I do not disagree with—I am not a lily-livered liberal—but we must understand what they do. [Interruption.]

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

With due respect to lily-livered liberals on the Committee.

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Hazel Grove

Leaving aside the state of my liver, may I say that nobody on the Committee would be tempted to believe that the right hon. Gentleman is a Liberal?

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 3:00, 9 Medi 2014

I will take that as a badge of honour.

The point of my discourse, before I became distracted, is that the order will

“prohibit the defendant from doing things in any part of the United Kingdom”,

but what does that mean? The Minister must explain to the Committee what sort of things the defendant could be prohibited from doing in any part of the United Kingdom. In theory, the order could create a draconian power to prevent anything from happening in the court at large. Will the Minister explain what sanctions she  believes could be imposed under clause 18, so we can compare and contrast them with the sanctions that can be imposed under control orders and terrorism prevention and investigation measures?

Clause 19 prohibits foreign travel

“for a fixed period of not more than 5 years.”

Again, I do not disagree with the thrust of the clause, but it is incumbent on the Minister to indicate to the Committee how the prohibition on foreign travel will work. We have been debating a range of matters relating to terrorism, including the withdrawal of passports and citizenship. Although the clause does not have a direct parallel with those things, the order could impose a major penalty on UK citizens and people travelling inside or outside the country. Before we pass clauses 18 and 19, the Minister must put on the record how they will work so that Members from all parties can ensure their livers are in good stead before we continue to clause 20.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

As somebody undertaking sober September at the moment, my liver has never been in better shape.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

It is still in better shape than it has ever been.

Clause 17, which I will not dwell on, is a definition clause to assist the courts and those issuing the orders. Clause 18, which the right hon. Gentleman has spent some time discussing, sets out what the slavery and trafficking prevention orders will do—namely, prohibit an individual from doing anything set out in the order if the court is satisfied that it is necessary to prevent harm. A slavery and trafficking prevention order may contain only prohibitions that the court deems necessary for the purpose of protecting people

“from the physical or psychological harm which would be likely to occur if the defendant committed a slavery or human trafficking offence.”

The explanatory notes state:

“The nature of any prohibition is a matter for the court to determine. A prohibition may include preventing a person from participating in a particular type of business, operating as a gangmaster, visiting a particular place, working with children or travelling to a specified country. The court may only include in an order prohibitions which it is satisfied are necessary for the purpose of protecting persons generally, or particular persons, from physical or psychological harm which would be likely to occur if the defendant committed a slavery or human trafficking offence”.

To enable law enforcement agencies and courts to respond to changing slavery and human trafficking practices, and to tailor prohibitions to the specific risk posed by individuals, we have deliberately not specified in the Bill the type of restrictions that can be included in a prevention order. That is appropriate, given the range of types of abuse that modern slavery involves, and the changing nature of the crime.

The prohibitions can apply to acts in any part of the UK and anywhere outside of the UK. They may apply for a fixed period of at least five years or until a further order is issued. The orders can specify different periods for different prohibitions. Where the court makes a  slavery and trafficking prevention order in relation to someone who is already subject to a slavery and trafficking order, the earlier order ceases to have effect. I therefore hope that the Committee will be able to support the clause’s inclusion in the Bill.

Let me turn to clause 19 and prohibitions on foreign travel. Modern slavery, particularly human trafficking, is an international problem. The types of restrictions available under a slavery and trafficking prevention order need to reflect that. Clause 19 enables the court to prohibit travel to some or all countries outside the UK for a fixed period of up to five years, which may be extended for further periods of up to five years. As with other restrictions, the court can impose travel restrictions only where it is satisfied that the restriction is necessary to prevent harm that would be likely to be caused to an individual by the defendant committing a further modern slavery offence.

When the prohibition applies to all countries outside the UK, the defendant is required to surrender all passports to the police. The passports will be returned once the period of prohibition has ended, unless the passports have been returned to the issuing countries or organisations. I hope the Committee will be able to support clauses 17 to 19.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 18 and 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.