Sir, Your report “ Trafficking victims up more than a fifth” (December 17) makes no reference to those victims of modern slavery who have not been trafficked. The Modern Slavery Act makes it clear that exploitation can also occur where the victims have not been “trafficked” (moved from one place to another for the purpose of exploitation). According to Part 1, Offences, Section 1 of the act, “Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour”, a person commits an offence if “the person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour . . .”. So Theresa May, the UK home secretary, is inaccurate in describing the act as “anti-trafficking legislation”.

Dealing effectively with labour exploitation would require a proactive approach, for example by expanding the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority from the agricultural, fisheries and food processing sectors to other casual labour sectors, such as the construction industry, contract cleaning and hospitality.

With the government’s hostility to regulation (the “red tape challenge”) and cuts in funding to key agencies, this is unlikely to happen.

Robert Willis

Birmingham, UK

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