Modern slavery: DWP and Home Office Ministers questioned
30 January 2017
The Work and Pensions Committee questions Ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Home Office as part of its inquiry into victims of modern slavery.
- Watch Parliament TV: Victims of modern slavery
- Inquiry: Victims of modern slavery
- Work and Pensions Committee
Monday 30 January 2017, Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster
- Damian Hinds MP, Minister for Employment, Department for Work and Pensions
- Sarah Newton MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism
- Helen Walker, Deputy Director Children, Families and Disadvantaged, Department for Work and Pensions
- Daniel Hobbs, Deputy Director and Head of Asylum and Family Policy, Home Office
Modern slavery is a serious crime in which individuals are exploited for little or no pay. Exploitation includes - among others - sexual exploitation, forced or bonded labour, forced criminality, domestic servitude and the removal of organs, and may often involve the related crime of human trafficking. The Prime Minister has described modern slavery as 'the great human rights issue of our times'.
The Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, wrote to the Chair earlier this year to highlight the difficulties recognised victims of modern slavery have in accessing support and benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that there is no specific support in place for recognised victims, unless they are granted discretionary leave to remain.
The Committee questions both Departments on levels and duration of welfare support provided to victims of slavery, whether they are from EU/EEA or other countries. It also considers the guidance and support given to DWP staff in dealing with victims of slavery and the extent to which the welfare system can contribute to potential prosecutions of people who exploit others in this heinous fashion.
Victims of modern slavery increasing in the UK
In 2014, the Home Office estimated that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013. Last year there were a total of 3,266 new recorded victims of modern slavery in the UK, a 40% increase on the year before. Victims came from 102 different countries, with the top 3 being Albania, Vietnam and Nigeria.