The UK’s Modern Slavery Legislation: An Early Assessment of Progress

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The UK’s Modern Slavery Legislation: An Early Assessment of Progress


  • Gary Craig Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, UK, and Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, UK


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Abstract:  In 2015, the Westminster UK government introduced a Modern Slavery Act described by its proponents as ‘world-leading’. This description was challenged at the time both inside and outside the UK. Two years on, it is possible to make a preliminary assessment of  progress with the Act and its two counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This article reviews the origins of discussions about modern slavery in the UK, describes the process leading to the passage of the Modern Slavery Act(s) and attempts an early evaluation of its effectiveness. It concludes that much remains to be done to ensure that they achieve their goal of abolishing slavery in the UK.

Keywords:  forced labour; human trafficking; legislation; modern slavery

Published:   23 June 2017


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v5i2.833


© Gary Craig. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.