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What does Medaille want to see from the next government on modern slavery?

Medaille Trust is calling on all political parties to commit with a renewed focus to eliminating modern slavery. 2025 will mark 10 years since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act. Much brilliant work has happened since, but there are still an estimated 122,000 people in modern slavery in the UK today and the support systems for potential victims are overdue for review and reform.

Medaille would like to see all political parties commit to:

  1. An approach which is survivor focused. We want the way potential victims are treated to be trauma-informed and as far as possible to empower and support survivors in their own recovery.
  2. At present too many survivors even when recognised as victims of modern slavery do not receive support which provides for a safer future. In fact, for many a decision can actually bring their support abruptly to an end, often with no recourse to public funds or right to stay. Better support for those exiting the NRM, whether as confirmed victims or where they have been refused a decision, is essential. To end the insecurity experienced by survivors under the current system, we ask policymakers to undertake a thorough review of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and re-evaluate and redesign what support victims truly need to achieve long-term safety, hope and purpose.  
  3. Too many potential victims have waited far too long in the current National Referral Mechanism for a resolution of their case. The average wait time is over 500 days, and for women is over 1000 days. We want government to commit to clear the existing backlog within a year with a particular focus on those who have been waiting the longest for a decision.
  4. Along with every other agency in the modern slavery sector we have consistently  [link] expressed major concerns with proposals to enact legislation that would exclude potential victims from modern slavery protections on the basis of their migration status. We believe this will have a severe detrimental impact on many potential victims, particularly victims of trafficking, and prevent potential victims from identifying themselves. We urge all parties to commit to the suspension of Sections 22-29 of the Illegal Migration Act and Section 63 of the Nationality and Borders Act.
  5. The ability to work is a critical part of the recovery of many survivors. By giving survivors the right to work while they are in the NRM, they can be supported to develop viable and useful skills for their futures. This will empower them in their recovery, make them less vulnerable to re-exploitation in future, prevent them becoming de-skilled while awaiting a decision and contribute to the UK economy. The people we support want to work, pay taxes and be less financially dependent on subsistence payments from the government.  We believe they should be given the chance.
  6. Modern slavery remains a low-risk, high-profit crime: relatively few traffickers are convicted and sentences are frequently far too lenient. Survivors rarely receive compensation from those who exploit them and companies that benefit from exploitation rarely face much consequence. We urge any future government to develop a new focus on prosecutions with the CPS and law enforcement bodies and to build on the innovative civil society models including Medaille Trust’s Victim Voices project and the Victim Navigators project.

We have also joined with colleagues in the sector in support of a manifesto for the first 100 days of a new government to better support victims of slavery.