People traffickers face jail
People traffickers who smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain to work as "domestic slaves" or as organ donors will face up to 14 years in jail under new legislation being drawn up by the Home Office.
Hundreds of people a year are illegally brought into Britain, often under the promise of lucrative work, and a significant number end up working as virtual slaves for families. They often have their false identity papers confiscated, are given little or no pay and suffer mistreatment.
The legislation, which could be announced in the Queen's Speech on 26 November, forms part of government and police attempts to reduce the growing problem of people smuggling. Under the proposals, outlined yesterday, a new offence of "trafficking for labour exploitation and debt bond-age" will be introduced with a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail. Bondage can occur when illegal immigrants are forced to work to pay off "debts" for non-existent services such board and lodging. People who want to leave or go to the police are sometimes threatened with violence or told their families will suffer.
The new offence will also cover cases in which people are smuggled into Britain and forced to give an organ in part payment. This type of abuse does occur on the Continent, but the Home Office said yesterday that there was no evidence of the trade in Britain.
Beverley Hughes, a Home Office minister, said: "We're trying to make the legislation as inclusive as we can so that it will incorporate debt bondage and domestic slavery, forced labour and organ harvesting." She said concessions might be offered to people who give evidence against trafficking gangs.
The Home Office is already bringing in a separate offence against people who smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain to work in the sex industry.
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more