31 July 2015

Key parts of new legislation to combat slavery in the UK - including life sentences for those guilty of people trafficking - have come into force in England and Wales.

The Modern Slavery Act has increased the maximum custodial sentence for offenders from 14 years to life.

It also gives courts powers to impose orders to restrict the activities of suspected traffickers.

Anne Read, of the Salvation Army, said thousands remain trapped in slavery.

The new legislation also gives victims extra protection against prosecutions for offences committed as part of their exploitation and provides slavery victims access to civil legal aid.

Powers to encourage reparation orders, for courts to use seized assets from perpetrators to compensate victims, have also come into force.

The bill - which was given Royal Assent in March - aims to consolidate offences used to prosecute those who enslave others into a single act.

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26 March 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is the first of its kind in Europe, and one of the first in the world, to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st century.

The new legislation significantly enhances support and protection for victims, gives law enforcement the tools they need to target today's slave drivers, ensures perpetrators can be severely punished, and includes a world leading provision to encourage business to take action to ensure their end-to-end supply chains are slavery free.

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9 December 2014

Northern Ireland is to become the first part of the UK to make paying for sex a criminal offence.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, which includes a clause criminalising payment for sex.

The private member's bill was brought before the house by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) peer Lord Morrow and passed its final stage on Tuesday.

The bill will be submitted to the Queen for Royal Assent, before becoming law.

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