The Salvation Army is calling on the public to stand together in prayer for modern slavery victims who risk losing vital protections should the Illegal Migration Bill become law as it stands.
On 12th July, as the Bill continues its passage through Parliament, Salvation Army leaders will be joining other faith leaders in Westminster. There they will pray for victims of modern slavery but also for politicians as they vote on the Illegal Migration Bill
The leaders are concerned that The Bill, which is designed to tackle illegal immigration, contains measures which would prevent genuine victims of modern slavery from coming forward to receive life-changing support. Without changes to the proposed legislation, victims of this devastating crime will be punished while it becomes easier for the criminal trafficking networks who exploit them continue to operate.
It is hoped many thousands more across the UK will join them and pray for politicians to have courage, wisdom and compassion as they make decisions affecting some of the most vulnerable people arriving on British shores.
Whilst The Salvation Army shares the Government’s desire to address the inhumane use of small boats by criminal gangs making money from the misery of displaced and desperate people, both have repeatedly called for the modern slavery system to be removed from this bill, for fear it will inadvertently make it easier for criminals to profit from other people’s lives.
Major Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army said:
“The Salvation Army takes seriously our duty to speak out alongside the vulnerable people we encounter in our work.
“The UK risks undermining our previously world-leading system of protections and lifesaving support services for vulnerable victims of crime. These include people tricked into coming to the UK illegally and under false pretences, only to be exploited in our farms, factories, and building sites or trapped and traded in brothels and even homes.”
In the past 11 years The Salvation Army has supported more than 18,000 people to rebuild their lives following the most terrible abuse. We want to work with these survivors and lawmakers to safeguard protections for people at risk of exploitation in the future, so all people can live a free and full life.”
In addition to the prayer event, The Salvation Army is providing the public with other opportunities to express concerns around the potentially devastating impact of the Illegal Migration Bill on survivors of modern slavery. More information on the Illegal Migration Bill are available here alongside resources to help people join in the prayer event on 12th July here.