On Friday, I spoke at the two-day Judges’ Summit on Human Trafficking and Organised Crime held at the Vatican. As readers will doubtless be aware, I am not a judge, nor am I an expert on human trafficking or organised crime. I was invited to speak because of my expertise in the legislative process, especially post-legislative scrutiny. I was the only political scientist to attend.
The UK has enacted the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first of its kind in Europe. Baroness Butler-Sloss, former Lord Justice of Appeal, who was centrally involved in the work leading up to, and passage of, the measure, outlined the provisions of the Act. Christopher Prince, a circuit judge and honorary judicial recorder of Durham, detailed work being done by the courts in dealing with victims. I then addressed the importance of evaluating the effects of the Act. As such, my role at the summit was unique as I was the only one to raise the importance of having in place a structured means of assessing whether law to combat slavery and human trafficking was having the effect intended.
Our presentations were on Friday afternoon. At the end of the afternoon, the Pope spoke, emphasising the importance he attached to the need to combat modern slavery. The event itself drew judges and lawyers from around the globe. It was valuable in identifying the nature and scale of the problem and what was being done to tackle it.
The picture shows those who attended from the UK. From the left: Alison Saunders (Director of Public Prosecutions), Gillian Rivers (Co-chair, UK Anti-Slavery Commission, attending as an observer), Kevin Hyland (the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner), Christopher Prince, me, and Baroness Butler-Sloss. I will include other pictures in later posts.