Sir, We are writing to express our concern about the Illegal Migration Bill. Modern slavery is a brutal crime, involving sophisticated criminal networks buying and selling people for profit. Victims of this appalling crime may be forced to enter the UK illegally. They have been coerced and deceived, with their identity and decision-making powers taken from them. This bill would result in these victims of modern slavery being deported or held in detention centres, exacerbating their pre-existing traumas and punishing them for crimes committed by criminal gangs.

We urge the government to reconsider the withdrawal of protections enshrined in the Modern Slavery Act, as to do so will have catastrophic consequences for victims of crimes committed on our shores. We believe that anyone who meets Home Office criteria should be deemed a possible victim of modern slavery, with the right to receive support while their case is considered and be protected from the duty of removal, regardless of their means of entry to the country.

Patrick Ryan, CEO, Hestia; Paul Bott, CEO, St John of God Hospitaller Services; Caroline O’Connor, CEO, Migrant Help; Lorraine Mealings, CEO, Bournemouth Churches Housing Association Ltd; Andrew Wallis, CEO, Unseen; Ed Newton, CEO, Causeway; Garry Smith, CEO, Medaille Trust; Wanjiku Mbugua-Ngotho, Acting CEO, Bawso; Lara Bundock, CEO and Founder, Snowdrop; Professor Dame Sara Thornton, Former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; Lord Morgan of Aberdyfi; Lord Foster of Bath; Baroness Royall of Blaisdon; Lord Alton of Liverpool; Lord Hunt of Kings Heath; Lord Singh of Wimbledon, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations; Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle; Lord Kerr of Kinlochard; Carolyn Harris MP, Swansea East; Sarah Champion MP, Rotherham; Alison Thewliss MP, Glasgow Central; Deidre Brock MP, Edinburgh North and Leith; Alan Brown MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun; Martyn Day MP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk; David Linden MP, Glasgow East; Gavin Newlands MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire North; Amy Callaghan MP, East Dunbartonshire; Anne McLaughlin MP, Glasgow North East; Tommy Sheppard MP, Edinburgh East; Ronnie Cowan MP, Inverclyde; Philippa Whitford MP, Central Ayrshire