Later this week the Modern Slavery Act will come into force after being successfully passed through parliament in March.
Long-term human trafficking campaigner and South East Euro-MP Catherine Bearder has heralded the introduction of historic legislation to protect victims of modern slavery.
The MEP has worked with a number of charities to raise the issue of trafficking following the introduction of the EU anti trafficking directive in 2011. Catherine called for a UK anti-trafficking Commissioner, and for victims of trafficking to be protected.
The UK Act has three main areas, including:
- The protection of victims of modern slavery
- The establishment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner
- The creation of two new civil orders to prevent modern slavery.
Catherine Bearder commented: "This really is a momentous occasion for the UK, I am absolutely delighted the Act has now come into force.
"I was proud when my Lib Dems colleagues in government worked on the issue of modernslavery and got this legislation through parliament, just in the nick of time.
"I'm delighted to see the law enshrines EU legislation to protect victims of trafficking, people have been through the most horrendous experiences, but have often been treated as criminals and sometimes deported.
"We now need to make sure we do everything we can to stamp out this abhorrent crime. And we can all play our part - human trafficking is happening in every town and village in the country - we all need to open our eyes to the signs and report our suspicions. The police need to know their new powers and be prepared to act on information to protect the most vulnerable of people"