Clause 23 - Slavery and trafficking risk orders

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 9 Medi 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:15, 9 Medi 2014

My right hon. Friend is right that there will be instances where that happens, and risk orders can be used at that point. We are all disappointed when prosecutions fail and convictions are not secured—that can happen for a multitude of reasons—but we will at least have something to fall back on if we know that we can prevent future harm.

It is worth saying that the police have indicated that they expect risk orders to be used to restrict the behaviour of individuals at the periphery of modern slavery investigations, where there may be insufficient evidence to convict those individuals, but the risk is still clear. The police also considered that risk orders could be useful in controlling the behaviour of others who posed a risk, but where it was difficult to prosecute—for example, brothel keepers who advertise internationally for women and who move the women backwards and forwards across borders. There may be insufficient evidence to convict them of a trafficking offence.

Where an individual has a relevant conviction overseas, but not for a specific modern slavery offence that would fall under the prevention order regime, risk orders could be used to effectively manage any threat that that individual posed in the UK.

In some situations, a victim does not wish to provide evidence or to support a prosecution, but the information they provide would give grounds for identifying a subject for such an order. Last week, we talked at length about the need for evidence, but some victims are just not prepared to give evidence, and they will have good reasons for that. In that case, risk orders could at least be used.

Risk orders follow the approach of existing non-conviction orders, such as risk of sexual harm orders, which have been used to prevent serious sexual offences.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brent Central asked a question to the effect of whether the orders were a second-best solution. It is important that they are available to law enforcement. We must be absolutely sure that victims are protected when they are at risk. We also absolutely want offenders to be brought to justice. Prosecution should be pursued whenever possible, but risk orders are there to give extra protection to those we so desperately wish to protect.