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Modern Slavery Project

Modern Slavery Project

The CPA UK Modern Slavery Project is a two year multilateral project funded by the UK Home Office providing practical advice and support to Commonwealth legislatures in the pursuit of combatting modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour. The project aims to encourage and facilitate a greater understanding of the national and international benefits of introducing modern slavery-related legislation and exchange learning.

Modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour are a global phenomenon. Research in 2017 from The Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organisation estimates that there are over 40 million victims of modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking worldwide. Furthermore, the International Labour Organisation estimates that the global modern slavery trade is worth $150 billion USD.

The project is led by Commonwealth parliamentarians and senior officials, sharing good practice to support colleagues in harnessing their heightened understanding to develop and strengthen modern slavery-related legislation across their jurisdictions.

During the first year of the Project, CPA UK delivered two regional workshops. One workshop was delivered in April 2017 that focused on the Asia-Pacific Region and a second workshop was delivered in Uganda in July 2017 that focused on the Africa region.

  • Read the Closing Report from the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop here
  • Read the Closing Report from the Africa Regional Workshop here

CPA UK is now delivering the second year of the project. As part of this, in December 2017, CPA UK organised a Legislative Drafting Seminar on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in London (UK).

  • Read the Closing Report from the Legislative Drafting Seminar on Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking here.

To get in touch contact the team on

To meet the CPA UK Modern Slavery Project Team click here

What is Modern Slavery?

Modern slavery crimes are complex, taking many different forms. They encompass slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.

Modern Slavery has the ability to affect a wide range of people, with men, women and children all vulnerable to a range of forms of modern slavery. Those exposed to modern slavery are often already vulnerable and have little or no opportunity to empower themselves.

As an international problem unhindered by national boundaries, it is essential for countries to work both internationally and domestically to tackle this horrific crime. Many victims of modern slavery are trafficked across the world, further emphasising the acute need for a strong international approach to the sprawling issue.

Modern slavery is different to many people’s traditional view of slavery in that there does not need to be any physical barrier preventing those subject to modern slavery leaving. Men, women and children across the world are living in modern slavery, working in industries such as commercial sex exploitation, mining, farming, manufacturing, fishing, domestic work and many more. Victims are often sold in to these industries by their families or criminals, trafficked or are voluntarily persuaded to enter industries under false pretences but then quickly become exploited. 

Find answers to common questions about modern slavery here.

UK Modern Slavery Act 2015

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 was one of the first pieces of legislation anywhere in the world to specifically address the spectrum of crimes modern slavery encompasses within one Bill. 

The Act consolidates previous laws relating to modern slavery and human trafficking. It legislates against all forms of slavery and trafficking, with a specific focus on child trafficking. The Act created a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery who were compelled to commit criminal offences during their enslavement, and established an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to oversee and encourage good practice in the pursuit of the prevention of modern slavery offences.

An amendment to the bill saw the addition of the transparency in supply chain provision. This requires businesses with an annual turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual statement relating to modern slavery in their supply chain.  

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides a unique opportunity to examine good practice and learn lessons to take forth in the pursuit of modern slavery legislation elsewhere.   


CPA UK will be working in conjunction with the Home Office to deliver the programme. CPA UK has a long history of working with parliamentarians, both in the UK and from across the Commonwealth and beyond, and has a longstanding reputation for delivering effective parliamentary programmes on a range of pertinent issues.

CPA UK will draw on UK parliamentarians with the relevant experience in debating and passing the landmark Modern Slavery Act 2015. Partnerships will also be developed with a range of key, interested parliamentarians from the projects’ partner countries to drive the strengthening of modern slavery legislation forward.

The project is jointly funded by the UK Government through the Home Office’s International Modern Slavery Fund and CPA UK. Tackling modern slavery is a key Government priority and a plethora of anti-slavery initiatives have recently been set up to tackle this shocking crime. The UK Government intends to build on the UK’s strong domestic track record in supporting victims and tackling perpetrators.

CPA UK will also be forming close partnerships with international parliaments, local and international NGO’s and experts in this area in order to pool expertise to best inform and achieve the enactment of modern slavery legislation.

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Future Programmes

Currently there are no programmes. Please check back soon.


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