Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP gives keynote speech at the Crown Prosecution Service Modern Slavery Summit – 22nd February 2018. The following is a transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered.
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you this morning. Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks to the CPS for organising and hosting this important summit on prosecuting Modern Slavery crimes.
On behalf of the UK Government may I also pass on a very warm welcome to you all. Many of you have travelled a long way to be here, and I hope this summit will be an important step in improving international dialogue and combatting the crimes of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.
As we are all very well aware, modern slavery exists in all our societies. It respects neither borders nor jurisdictions and its victims are subject to the most appalling mistreatment and exploitation, this brings our task at this summit into sharp focus.
I know you will be looking at identifying ways to better support victims and witnesses, and establishing a strong, active international network to tackle Modern Slavery.
In the last 8 years, the UK has clearly demonstrated that with the right will and mind-set it is possible to transform our approach to Modern Slavery.
The then Home Secretary, and current Prime Minister, identified modern slavery as a significant problem, and since then this Government has put in place an ambitious strategy and dedicated legislation to tackle it.
Prior to 2010, there was no bespoke legislation and the law enforcement response was not sufficiently coordinated or effective to deal with this type of offending.