Modern Slavery

Building parliamentarians’ understanding and knowledge on contemporary forms of exploitation

CPA UK’s objective is to contribute to the global effort to ‘eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour’ (SDG target 8.7)

We do this by:

Increasing parliamentarians’ and parliamentary officials’ understanding of the crimes so they can better protect, educate, and support their own constituents.
Supporting parliamentarians and parliamentary officials in the strengthening of their existing legislation.
Strengthening parliamentarians and parliamentary officials’ skills and knowledge on effective parliamentary tools to better oversee and scrutinise legislation implementation.

 Our focus:

Creating space for parliamentarians and parliamentary officials to enhance their skills.
Supporting parliamentarians and parliamentary officials to better understand the issues and act upon them.
Building a network of Commonwealth organisations that can support parliamentarians and parliamentary officials’ understanding of the issues in their own jurisdiction.

What is Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Forced Labour

One in 200 people is living in some form of contemporary exploitation today. According to the latest figures published by the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation and the Walk Free Foundation, an estimated 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery. More than half of them are in forced labour, which means they are working against their will and under threat, intimidation, or coercion. 

It is estimated that 40% of the 40.3 million people in modern slavery live in the Commonwealth.

It is everywhere. It harms people in every country in the world.

Your role as parliamentarians

Parliamentarians, supported by parliamentary officials, are uniquely placed to inspire, empower, encourage, and lead the journey towards the eradication of modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour.

As legislators, they participate in debates and vote on legislation. They can strengthen laws to better respond to the needs of the citizens.

As representatives of the people, and in many countries as leaders in their constituency, every day is an opportunity to raise awareness, educate constituents on the issues and protect them from exploitation.

As members of committees, they have the power to exert oversight over governments’ actions and decisions.

Building their knowledge and skills on these issues is paramount. They are drivers of positive change in their own constituency and country.

Recent Programmes

Virtual Caribbean Regional Workshop on Human Trafficking, Forced Labour and other Contemporary Forms of Exploitation, 2-3 February 2021

CPA UK brought together parliamentarians and officials from across the UK and Caribbean to increase awareness and build networks in response to the global challenge of human trafficking and forced labour. Read the report here.

Virtual International Conference: Assisting and Protecting Survivors of Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Forced Labour, 15-16 September 2020

From 15 – 16 September 2020, CPA UK – in partnership with the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC) – organised a two-day virtual conference on Assisting and Protecting Survivors of Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Forced Labour. Read more here.

About the Modern Slavery Project (2016-2020)

The CPA UK Modern Slavery Project was a four year-multilateral project funded by the UK Government providing practical advice and support to parliaments in the pursuit of combatting modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour.

The project has:

  • Supported parliamentarians and parliamentary officials in two countries to strengthen and advocate the passing of amended legislation.
  • Empowered parliamentarians to introduce Private Member’s Bill.
  • Deepened the knowledge of over 100 parliamentarians and parliamentary officials from over 15 legislatures.
  • Built a network of parliamentary champions across the Commonwealth, committed to sharing information and advancing modern slavery-related legislation.
  • Increased parliamentarians’ knowledge on modern slavery-related crimes that they might not have considered before / or were unaware of, such as orphanage trafficking.
  • In partnership with individual experts and organisations, produced educational material to raise awareness of the different issues at parliamentary and constituency level.
  • Published two books on Legislating against modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour which have been downloaded more than two-thousand times in over 60 countries.

The project received an ‘A’ grade in June 2019 for the quality of its management from an independent review commissioned by the Home Office. It also received special mention in the 2019 and 2020 US Trafficking in Persons Reports.

Modern Slavery Project Video

"The Modern Slavery Project has been groundbreaking in that it has had the significant impact of educating, supporting and transforming not only the Parliamentarians involved in the Project but the lives of millions of constituents in the world who are being protected from the atrocity of modern slavery.

Its import will be evident for generations to come."

R. Evon Idahosa, Human Rights Lawyer and Founder of Pathfinders Justice Initiative



eHandbook: Legislating against Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking & Forced Labour

eHandbook Vol. II: Legislating against Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking & Forced Labour: The Role of Parliament to Scrutinise & Raise Awareness.

Awareness-raising materials on modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour for parliamentarians and parliamentary officials.

"The project has been world-class at facilitating the consideration, drafting and proposing of tailor-made legislation that will make a critical and measurable difference to the lives of many thousands of vulnerable persons."

Professor Parosha Chandran, Leading Human Rights Lawyer

“The Australian Parliament has passed the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 and I was thrilled to be the Minister responsible for its passage. 

This legislation is due in no small part to CPA UK, because without the workshops and access to those involved in all aspects of the UK legislation, it may not have happened.  Even if it had, it is a far better bill than it would have been."

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Parliament of Australia