Clause 23 - Slavery and trafficking risk orders

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 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 3:30, 9 Medi 2014

My hon. Friend asks an important question, and that is part of the Government’s overall strategy on modern slavery. The message from the Committee should be clear—that we wish to see prosecutions—but I also want to see the anti-slavery commissioner, which we will debate later, put in place to ensure that those prosecutions are pursued in the best way they can be. The orders will be used only when it is not possible to convict somebody or where we have no evidence that they have committed a crime to date, but we have evidence that they will commit crimes in the future. It is an enhancement; it is certainly not a replacement.

My hon. Friend’s amendment 87 would make the process for seeking an order more complex by introducing further criteria and increase the likelihood of legal challenges as individuals subject to an order could argue that their behaviours were outside the triggering behaviours listed in the legislation. That is why we did not want to give an exhaustive list. We know that criminals tailor their behaviour to try to find loopholes in legislation, and there is a risk that they would use the list as a checklist by reference to which they could evade law enforcement.

Amendment 80 would ensure that only a senior immigration officer could make a slavery and trafficking risk order on application. The clause is drafted with reference to existing recognised legal persons, and specific positions of senior staff in immigration enforcement are not set out in legislation. We will establish, through Home Office policy, that any decision to apply for a slavery and trafficking prevention or risk order must be approved by the director of criminal investigations, a person of equivalent seniority to those who can apply for orders within the police and NCA. We consider that this safeguard will ensure that the orders are used appropriately without that provision appearing in the Bill. We have set substantial and appropriate safeguards to ensure that the orders will be used only in appropriate circumstances and with the approval of senior persons within enforcement bodies. Given that reassurance, I hope that right hon. and hon. Members will not press their amendments.