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Ahmed Aydeed takes part in Westminster Legal Policy Forum keynote seminar (12 June 2020)

Date: 12/06/2020
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Ahmed Aydeed takes part in Westminster Legal Policy Forum keynote seminar

Public law director Ahmed Aydeed took part in Westminster Legal Policy Forum’s keynote seminar: Tackling modern slavery in the UK – progress and practical next steps, business and the global response and the future for policy on 9th June 2020.

The main areas discussed at the seminar included:

  • Legislation and policy initiatives - including the review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the National Referral Mechanism and the need for a global policy framework to challenge trafficking and modern slavery;

  • New approaches to prevention, detection and victim support, and

  • The next steps for tackling modern slavery in business and globally.

Ahmed spoke as part of the panel ‘Next steps for tackling modern slavery in the UK – data, ensuring better victim support, and the National Referral Mechanism’, and was joined by a number of other leading experts in this field, including Kate Roberts from Anti-Slavery International and Major Kathy Betteridge of Salvation Army. The panel was chaired by Baroness Sally Hamwee, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Immigration, and preceded by Murray Hunt, director of the upcoming Modern Slavery and Human Rights: Policy and Evidence Centre.

The panel aimed to highlight concerns in the implementation of reforms to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) including the impact of government attempts at digitalising the process and issues relating to how Covid-19 has impacted the number of referrals into the NRM. Support for victims was also a key issue, with contributions from the panel highlighting the potential for gaps in support for victims and survivors. It was further highlighted that those offering front line services need to ensure that clients are being offered quality, tailored support throughout their time in the NRM as well as once a decision had been provided. Other panellists noted that those referred to the NRM were often left having to choose between returning to their exploitative situations or being destitute.

Having previously shared his expertise in the fight against modern slavery, including giving evidence at the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into modern slavery last July, Ahmed had the expertise required to shine a light on the current issues surrounding the NRM and how best to support victims. Through the work of his team and collaboration with non-governmental organisations, Ahmed was able to further share his insight on the inadequacies in the current victim support offerings, as well as the growing need to offer stability to such individuals through discretionary leave.

Delegates benefitted from Ahmed’s perspective as a public law lawyer who has represented victims of trafficking and modern slavery, particularly with his background in policy challenges.

Following the event Ahmed comments;

“Having conversations with other stakeholders through forums such as the Westminster Legal Policy Forum remains crucial. We are keen to continue our involvement in legal policy discussions to ensure victims and survivors are able to access the support to which they are entitled.”

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