The University of Hull is raising funds to take action to fight against the evils of modern slavery. In this article alumna Liz McGrath QC (Law, 1982) tells us why she is supporting our work, and asks fellow alumni to join her in supporting this initiative.
It seems obscene to me that almost 200 years after Abolition, modern slavery is as real and current an evil as any time in history.
You’ll know the Modern Slavery ACT (MSA) passed in 2015, brought in legislation to prosecute not only the gang masters and traffickers, but also businesses who benefit or turn the other way, providing punishment and penalties for perpetrators, as well as support for victims. It impacts on family law, health and social care, child safeguarding and victim support as well as criminal law.
But legislation has little impact if there are not the resources or expertise within the justice system to implement it and, six years after the Modern Slavery Act, there is evidence that this is the case.
Our aim is to inform and educate people to use the law, so that together we combat the evil of modern slavery.
It’s with considerable pride to me that my alma mater is creating a justice hub to provide the training and support so urgently needed for those working to combat one of the world’s great evils. We have over half the funds needed to get started, but we need your help to reach our October 2021 start date target. I am contacting you now as a graduate of the University in the hope you’ll join me and support this pioneering initiative.
I graduated in law in 1983 and started my career at the Bar in 1987 with Chambers in Birmingham. In 2014 I was appointed to Queen’s Counsel and now practise family law from a set with offices nationwide. As part of an alumni group supporting inspiring and innovative work by the Wilberforce Institute for Slavery and Emancipation, I am reaching out to you as fellow graduates for support to set up the justice hub, which will give information and practical resources across our fields of practice, wherever our work is impacted by the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act.
We want to set up the justice hub in October this year. In its first year we will identify professionals who can benefit from its resources, develop a virtual learning centre, identify and roll out relevant educational courses, and generate funding mechanisms and resources to secure future delivery of the initiative.
One person trafficked is one too many and the figures for children are particularly worrying.
More work is urgently needed across sectors to ensure victims are detected and supported, and perpetrators face the full force of the law.
I hope, along with the University and Wilberforce Institute, that you’ll feel able, whether personally or through any commercial enterprise you represent, to support this Justice hub in a concrete way and make a real difference to this worthy fight.