As I am sure you are aware, the Modern Slavery Act has played a key role in transforming the UK's response to modern slavery on a national and international level. The Act provides police and law enforcement agencies with the necessary powers to bring perpetrators to justice and enhance protections given to victims. You may be interested to know that the Act has resulted in a significant uplift in law enforcement activity against the criminals behind this abhorrent crime. I understand that more than 600 live investigations are currently taking place.
The Government has established this country as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery. However, criminal networks are constantly evolving to find new ways to exploit and control victims. I was alarmed by recent Home Office research which highlighted the devastating economic and social costs of modern slavery. It is estimated that modern slavery costs the UK up to £4.3 billion a year and each modern slavery crime is second only to homicide in terms of harm to its victims and society.
I welcome the cross-party independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This will not only enhance the Act where necessary, but also aims to strengthen and accelerate progress from Government and business alike, in eradicating this terrible crime.
I look forward to seeing the independent review established which will see vital work undertaken to ensure the UK keeps in step with this ever-evolving exploitative crime.