Modern Day Slavery

MQT on 2017-10-12
Session date: 
October 12, 2017
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What measures are the Metropolitan Police taking towards ending Modern Day Slavery in London and how many prosecutions have been undertaken by the Met and CPS?


Answer for Modern Day Slavery

Answer for Modern Day Slavery

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for this timely question, Chair Arnold.  You will no doubt have seen the recent Evening Standard campaign on modern slavery.  Modern slavery and the trafficking of people are truly appalling crimes.  The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has a central role in tackling modern slavery.  In part, this is through its work nationally and internationally to tackle the organised criminal networks at the heart of trafficking and slavery, but equally, the MPS has a key role in providing support for victims.  They are one of the only dedicated modern slavery and kidnap units in the country which deals with all referrals of modern slavery through the national referral mechanism.  This unit works closely with the voluntary and community sector to identify the appropriate support of victims.


As of August 2017, there have been 59 arrests made under modern slavery charges and there were 88 arrests in total in 2016.  Unfortunately, ascertaining prosecution numbers for modern slavery cases is complex.  Offences can fall under a number of Acts even beyond the Modern Slavery Act, so it would be misleading to give a figure.  What I can say is that since the Act came into force, we are aware of at least six cases in London resulted in convictions which have used the new legislation.  Although it is still embedding, the Act does provide useful additional tools for enforcement.  The MPS are actively working to increase convictions.


However, we need to be upfront that is not something to be dealt with by the MPS alone.  In my Police and Crime Plan, I have made a commitment to bring partners together to look at how we work collectively, share in intelligence and best practice and pooling resources to target our response.  Via the London Modern Slavery Partnership Board, we are already building awareness of frontline professionals to identify victims and working with industries to make supply chains more transparent and looking at how we target enforcement to pursue abuse that takes place on a smaller scale.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Thank you for that.  I have got a couple of questions.  Because of the need to raise awareness and share as much information as possible, will you look to ensuring that the work of the board and the work of all the meetings that you are having, the Deputies are having around this issue, is publicised as soon as possible?  I am sure we can find a mechanism of doing that.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes, for the record.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Yes, that is great.  Now, I welcome the commitment in the draft Police and Crime Plan to establish the dedicated slavery single point of contact officer in each borough.  Being realistic on where borough funds are, would you agree with me if that post is not funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), then what we would then have is really one or two boroughs maybe having this person and that that would be totally unacceptable, given the seriousness of the situation?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I agree with you.  Just to reassure you, Chair, we are currently identifying a modern slavery ambassador for every borough.  These officers will get additional awareness training so they can respond to questions and concerns by colleagues at a borough level.  But you are right, there is no point those boroughs that can afford it having it and those that cannot not having it, so you are right to raise the issue of resources and the link with the quality of service we provide.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The other point, having spoken to the women who have escaped and who have had to, if you like, launch their own campaign - and they have received support, and I acknowledge the support from the editor of The Evening Standard, yourself and others - will you keep up the pressure on MOPAC and all bodies that you meet, including the Home Office, to just say to them that women enslaved is as important as the time and energy we spend regarding smuggling guns and drugs?  Smuggling and trafficking of humans has got to be the top priority, would you agree with me, and will you continue to take that work forward?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I could not agree more.  Just to reassure you, Chair, one of the reasons why the Modern Slavery Partnership Board was set up was because of the lack of co-ordination taking place.  You will be aware that in addition to the “police partners” on there, there are also very important partners from the community as well.  It is crucial we provide more information, but also, that we do not allow this to fall down the list of priorities.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The women involved are relaunching their organisation.  I will make sure you get an invite.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That is very kind, thank you.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Thank you.


Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, this is the first I have heard of the ambassadors for human trafficking.  Could you just tell me where they are going to be coming from?  Who is going to be appointed?  Is it going to be a police officer; is it going to be somebody from the local authority?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Sure, thank you.  Yes, it will be a police officer.  It is really important to cascade the training down to other colleagues in a borough level, because if you approach a neighbourhood police officer, he or she may not have the expertise, but if there is an ambassador within the borough, they can make sure there is that skillset passed down.


Andrew Boff AM:  OK, thank you very much.