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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

UK select committee launches inquiry into human trafficking

UK select committee launches inquiry into human trafficking


Home Affairs Committee to assess the scale of human trafficking in the UK

The UK Home Affairs Select Committee announced the launch of a new inquiry on 7 February into the trafficking of human beings, in order to assess the scale of human trafficking in the UK and the different forms it takes.  

The Committee inquiry will examine the different types of exploitation, the profile of victims and perpetrators, the gendered aspects of human trafficking, and the role of technology in facilitating human trafficking. The effectiveness of UK government policy, legislation and the criminal justice system in preventing and discouraging human trafficking will also be scrutinised.

At the outset of the inquiry, the Committee is particularly interested in whether there is any evidence to suggest that the National Referral Mechanism process is being exploited by individuals seeking asylum in the UK, and how legislation, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015, policy and criminal justice system practice can be improved to prevent and address human trafficking.

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman suggested to the media in October 2022 that she intends to reform the Modern Slavery Act to prevent criminals from allegedly abusing the UK legal system by pretending to be victims of trafficking.

Home Affairs Committee Chair, Dame Diana Johnson MP, said “Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime, yet it is all too prevalent and all too profitable in the UK. While Britain took an important step in the fight against trafficking with the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, the Home Affairs Committee will investigate what more needs to be done to prevent this crime, prosecute exploiters and protect victims”. 

The Committee has published a call for evidence, looking for submissions in response to a series of questions on the matter, which closes on 17 March 2023.

Alongside the launch of the new inquiry, the Committee also published a call to appoint two specialist advisers on human trafficking to work on the inquiry.