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Sunak's crackdown on modern-day slavery guidance risk undermining protections for victims, campaigners warn

RISHI SUNAK’S plans to toughen the criteria for claims of modern-day slavery are dangerous and risk undermining protections for victims, campaigners and experts have warned. 

The Prime Minister is planning to rewrite modern slavery guidance as part of a set of new policies designed to crack down on people arriving in the UK via irregular routes and clear the asylum backlog. 

Under the plans, Mr Sunak is pledging to remove the “gold plating” on the guidance by “significantly raising” the threshold someone has to meet to be recognised as a victim of slavery and reducing a cooling-off period from 45 to 30 days following an initial decision. 

But anti-slavery campaigners warn there is no “gold plating,” saying that victims are already facing delays and poor support due to attacks on the system by successive home secretaries.

“Modern slavery is a human rights abuse, and no human is illegal,” a spokesperson from the Anti-Slavery International charity said. 

“We cannot underestimate how dangerous and ill-advised [the] announcement from the Prime Minister was.

“Delays in identification and poor support for survivors of modern slavery in the UK are a dangerous result of the ongoing campaign to locate this global phenomenon in immigration policy. 

“Make no mistake, there is no ‘gold plating’ in the UK’s support for victims of modern slavery.”

The UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, said he was concerned by Mr Sunak’s pledge to tighten the definition of modern slavery. 

“I urge the government to implement the existing international standards in good faith in order to protect victims,” he said on Twitter. 

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