23 January 2024 

Presented by the Ministry of Justice, the Victims and Prisoners Bill aims to improve victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system. The provisions in the Bill will affect all victims of crime, but it is anticipated those most affected will be victims of serious crime, including those subject to violence against women and girls and domestic abuse.  

As a leading provider of support for survivors of modern slavery, Hestia knows that a significant number of children are born as a result of maternal Modern Slavery and human trafficking or witness these crimes. The Bill in its current form does not recognise these children under its definition of ‘victim’. 

Our research regarding the intergenerational impact of modern slavery – Underground Lives: Forgotten Children – highlights the urgent need to identify this group as children with specific vulnerabilities and support needs, differentiated from other vulnerable children.  

The Bill is currently at the Committee Stage in the House of Lords. An amendment has kindly been tabled by Baroness Hamwee, and seeks to make explicit reference to dependent children of victims of modern slavery and trafficking, as victims in their own right. 

The omission of children of victims of modern Slavery and human trafficking from the Bill’s definition could mean that these children will be unable to access the necessary support they need to recover. 

Hestia’s research has shown that some of these children experience unique challenges, such as the transmission of trauma, developmental delays, and unmet support needs arising from a relative lack of specialist care.   

Like the children of victims of Domestic Abuse, who are defined as victims in their own right under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children of victims of Modern Slavery and human trafficking should be similarly recognised as such in the Bill to ensure they are appropriately supported to recover. 

Only through this explicit recognition can these victims be given access to the support they need to rebuild their lives.  

Tabled amendment 

Hogan Lovells and Doughty Street Chambers have chosen to work on a pro-bono basis in partnership with Hestia and have supported the drafting of these amendments. We are grateful for their support.  

Clause 1, page 1, line 16, at end insert -  

(e) where the person is a child of a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking within the meaning of sections 1 and 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 

Page 2, line 3, at end insert -  

(c ) A “child of a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking” is a child who sees or hears, or experiences the effects of, the modern slavery or human trafficking, and the victim is the parent of that child or has parental responsibility for that child. 

(d) A “child” is a person under the age of 18.  

Members Explanatory Statement 

This amendment seeks to ensure the explicit definition of a victim includes those subject to Modern Slavery, and any children of victims subject to Modern Slavery, to recognise the longstanding impacts of this crime on those who experience, or bear witness, to it.