Friday 28 April 2017
Welcome to the summary of the final day of the Modern Slavery Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop. The final day sought to look beyond legislation to implementation with interactive sessions aimed at unpacking what law on modern slavery looks like in action.
Difficulties with implementation
The opening session began with a discussion on the difficulties of implementation of modern slavery legislation. Chaired by Kathryn Bryant of the Walk Free Foundation, the session offered an opportunity for delegates to raise some of the challenges they face in their jurisdictions as well as potential alternative responses to the scourge of modern slavery.
The discussion between delegates raised whether there was an appetite in the Asia-Pacific Region to consolidate existing legislation on modern slavery offences, such as bonded labour and human trafficking, into one overarching legislation. Also discussed was the issue of ‘victim-focussed’ legislation that stands up for the sufferers of modern slavery rather than ‘perpetrator-focussed’.
In sum, the discussion on challenges and difficulties with implementation highlighted prevention, protection and prosecution as the key interrelated areas that parliamentarians needed to get to grips with to have a meaningful impact on modern slavery.
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
After the opening session, delegates heard from Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE. The former police officer and Head of the London Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Trafficking Unit told delegates about the specific functions of the Modern Slavery Act. These functions included making it easier for prosecutors to convict modern slavery criminals; increasing sentencing for offences; giving preventative powers to police; and a transparency in supply chains clause for companies.
Kevin Hyland OBE then gave an overview of his role as Anti-Slavery Commissioner, which is to encourage good practice in the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act. He outlined his aim of making modern slavery a less profitable and more high-risk criminal activity. He went on to encourage delegates to form partnerships and work with colleagues across borders to implement and enforce strategic measures that curb modern slavery practices. Raising awareness of the issue of modern slavery was also highlighted as parliamentarians are in a unique position of leadership, capable of changing cultures as well as legislation.
Following the keynote address, delegates had an opportunity to think about what action they wanted to take going forward. Writing pledges, the delegates outlined specific areas where they could take a lead in the fight against modern slavery.
To close, CPA UK Chief Executive Andrew Tuggey CBE, awarded delegates with certificates for the completion of the Modern Slavery Asia Pacific Regional Workshop.
CPA UK would like to extend our thanks to all the delegates and speakers for their participation in the Modern Slavery Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop. It has been a privilege to explore this important issue with you and also to learn from your own experiences and knowledge. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.