Life for traffickers is a welcome move, says former Bradford police chief

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Allan Doherty Allan Doherty

A former Bradford police chief, in charge of rescuing victims of human trafficking, has welcomed a Government proposal to introduce a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the offence.

The draft Modern Day Slavery Bill sets out the Government's plans to tackle the problem of people being trafficked into the UK to work in conditions of slavery, pulling together into a single act the offences used to prosecute slave-drivers.

Home Secretary Theresa May said it was impossible to know how many people are being held in conditions of servitude in Britain, but referrals to official agencies suggest the numbers are growing.

It is hoped the changes in the Bill will increase the number of prosecutions from the single figures seen in recent years. Mrs May said one of the obstacles to successful prosecution was the reluctance of victims to come forward because of fears they might themselves face prosecution or be sent back to their home countries.

New guidance is being drawn up by the Director of Public Prosecutions to protect victims of slavery from being prosecuted for crimes which they have been forced to commit because of their illegal servitude, she revealed.

The Bill contains provisions to give automatic life sentences to offenders who already have convictions for very serious sexual or violent offences. It introduces Trafficking Prevention Orders to restrict the activity and movement of convicted traffickers and stop them from committing further offences. And a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be appointed to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.

Former Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty, the Bradford-based director of operations for the charity Hope For Justice, said: “We are happy about the Bill. We have been involved in consultation and will continue to be. We want to keep the topic of trafficking high on the agenda so people can understand it and report it if they see signs of it, and so police nationally can understand it is a massive issue to take seriously and put resources into it.

“At the moment the police are being pulled in a lot of directions. We are happy human trafficking is becoming a priority and probably a lot more resources will be devoted to human trafficking.”

Hope For Justice has rescued nearly 150 victims in the UK in two years. The Bradford team alone rescued 20 people in just two weeks.

Mr Doherty said: “The Bill acknowledges that modern day slavery is being recognised at the very highest level. That is very helpful because it sends a strong message, to police forces, local authorities and other people who will come across victims, to take them seriously.”

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson called for the Bill to go further to provide stronger legal protection for child victims.

He said: "I have pledged to work with fellow Police and Crime Commissioners and internationally to tackle issues such as trafficking and forced marriage and plan to meet with more charities who work with victims of this awful practice to learn more about what we can do to help.

"I will be looking at the scale of this problem in West Yorkshire and how it can be measured accurately so we can develop ways of tackling it to ensure we are making communities safer and feeling safer."

Comments (6)

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7:14am Tue 17 Dec 13

Albion. says...

"Hope For Justice has rescued nearly 150 victims in the UK in two years. The Bradford team alone rescued 20 people in just two weeks."

It would be of interest to know if patterns have emerged as to the places of origin of those involved.
"Hope For Justice has rescued nearly 150 victims in the UK in two years. The Bradford team alone rescued 20 people in just two weeks." It would be of interest to know if patterns have emerged as to the places of origin of those involved. Albion.

9:08am Tue 17 Dec 13

freespeech says...

I hope the charities links with the police / boarder agency / CPS and others goes from strength to strength. We need to push this message to the organised low life's that our country is not a safe haven for them.
I hope the charities links with the police / boarder agency / CPS and others goes from strength to strength. We need to push this message to the organised low life's that our country is not a safe haven for them. freespeech

10:20am Tue 17 Dec 13

Bone_idle18 says...

England are still joint bottom for numbers in Modern Slavery (joint with Ireland and Iceland), the league table is :-

Countries ranked by estimated number of slaves

India - 13,956,010

China - 2,949,243

Pakistan - 2,127,132

Nigeria - 701,032

Ethiopia - 651,110

Russia - 516,217

Thailand - 472,811

DR Congo - 462,327

Burma - 384,037

Bangladesh - 343,192
England are still joint bottom for numbers in Modern Slavery (joint with Ireland and Iceland), the league table is :- Countries ranked by estimated number of slaves India - 13,956,010 China - 2,949,243 Pakistan - 2,127,132 Nigeria - 701,032 Ethiopia - 651,110 Russia - 516,217 Thailand - 472,811 DR Congo - 462,327 Burma - 384,037 Bangladesh - 343,192 Bone_idle18

12:31pm Tue 17 Dec 13

doileycart says...

there should NOT be ANY slaves in this country of ours, having less than other countries is NOT acceptablde
there should NOT be ANY slaves in this country of ours, having less than other countries is NOT acceptablde doileycart

3:07pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Bone_idle18 says...

doileycart wrote:
there should NOT be ANY slaves in this country of ours, having less than other countries is NOT acceptablde
Not saying it is acceptable, just pointing out where we stand.

Also, the figure probably indicate where the issue is being imported from.
[quote][p][bold]doileycart[/bold] wrote: there should NOT be ANY slaves in this country of ours, having less than other countries is NOT acceptablde[/p][/quote]Not saying it is acceptable, just pointing out where we stand. Also, the figure probably indicate where the issue is being imported from. Bone_idle18

3:55pm Tue 17 Dec 13

RollandSmoke says...

Home Secretary Theresa May said "it is impossible to know how many people are being held in conditions of servitude in Britain, but referrals to official agencies suggest the numbers are growing". Unless workers are rewarded with a wage on which they can live, "A living wage" then they are working in servitude. Therefore I'd put the figure at around 6 million. What's that you say? We're only talking about those who are trafficked here as a consequence of prohibition? Well we're screwed then as there is no-one with the political backbone to properly address those issues.
Home Secretary Theresa May said "it is impossible to know how many people are being held in conditions of servitude in Britain, but referrals to official agencies suggest the numbers are growing". Unless workers are rewarded with a wage on which they can live, "A living wage" then they are working in servitude. Therefore I'd put the figure at around 6 million. What's that you say? We're only talking about those who are trafficked here as a consequence of prohibition? Well we're screwed then as there is no-one with the political backbone to properly address those issues. RollandSmoke

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