“A Modern Response to Modern Slavery” is a Europe-wide investigation that provides 40 recommendations for the ways authorities can tackle organised crime groups (OCGs), which force thousands of victims into a life of sham marriages, sex work, slave labour, benefit fraud and petty crime. Published by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)*, the report looks at how policy makers and law enforcement across the European Union could develop a more modern response to modern slavery. One of the recommendations is to harmonise terminology across Europe and the world: ‘’the rest of Europe should in the future refer to this form of crime as what it is: modern slavery’’.
The study is the outcome of research and contributions from the private and public sectors, think tanks, academia, NGOs, central governments and partners in the European law enforcement community. It opens with words from Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, who states: ‘’As this report highlights, as long as human trafficking goes unreported, it cannot be tackled. From a law enforcement perspective, the most pressing challenges are for frontline officers to recognise human trafficking and modern slavery where they occur, and to know how to handle such cases, including referral to the relevant specialised authorities. It is then incumbent on these experts to recognise the cross-border dimension of so many cases and to make use of Europol and other established mechanisms to investigate and prosecute cases with the full force of the law – often the law of two or more countries’’.
In addition to the Director of Europol, other Europol experts, including Ben Waites, Senior Specialist at Europol, have widely contributed to make this study possible and have provided expertise and guidance throughout the investigation.
As Fiona Cunningham, author of the study, acknowledges: ‘’Rob Wainwright, I believe, has made Europol sharper and more impressive than ever before. He is enormously open minded to change and new ways of working. He made this research possible as a consequence. Rob was generous enough to open up his network within the European law enforcement community, and for that I will forever be in his debt. I must also say a huge thank you to Ben Waites. He was very patient with a very impatient researcher. A big thank you must go to everyone at Europol who helped out with fact-checking and providing guidance throughout.’’
* The British Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded in 2004, aims to put social justice at the heart of British politics.