Last night Frank delivered the keynote speech at an 'Ending Modern Slavery' event at the Oasis People's Parliament in Lambeth. Frank was speaking in his role as Chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the draft Modern Slavery Bill and addressed over 200 activists from across the UK and Europe.
The event was organised by Stop the Traffik, a human rights charity that is leading a global movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to bring an end to modern slavery and human trafficking worldwide. Set up in 2006, it now has over 45,000 members in 257 countries around the world.
Steve Chalke MBE, founder of Stop the Traffik and a UN Special Advisor on Community Action Against Human Trafficking, gave the introductory speech, setting out the background to the new Joint Select Committee and Frank's role.
Frank's speech focused on key aspects of the evidence review he completed for the Home Secretary in 2013. These are:
1. Improved provisions to ensure better protections for victims.
2. An increased focus on tracking and reclaiming the ill-gotten assets of traffickers.
3. Ensuring that a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner is independent from Government.
4. Working with companies to help them increase transparency in their supply chains to ensure that they are free from forced labour.
Frank said: “We are on the cusp of a great historical advance for this country. We now need to take extra steps to ensure that this is not just a good anti-slavery bill, but a world leading one”.
Frank's speech was followed by a Q&A session where members of the audience put forward their questions and suggestions on the planned legislation. Frank was joined on the panel by Caroline Spelman MP, the former Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who sits with him on the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee and Tim Weedon, Frank's senior parliamentary researcher and co-author of the final report of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review.
A full podcast of the event is available on the Oasis website