Modern Slavery Act 2015

This page contains an overview of the Modern Slavery Act and supporting documents.

The Modern Slavery Act will give law enforcement the tools to fight modern slavery, ensure perpetrators can receive suitably severe punishments for these appalling crimes and enhance support and protection for victims. It received Royal Assent on Thursday 26 March 2015.

The act will:

  • consolidate and simplify existing offences into a single act
  • ensure that perpetrators receive suitably severe punishments for modern slavery crimes (including life sentences)
  • enhance the court’s ability to put restrictions on individuals where it’s necessary to protect people from the harm caused by modern slavery offences
  • create an independent anti-slavery commissioner to improve and better coordinate the response to modern slavery
  • introduce a defence for victims of slavery and trafficking
  • place a duty on the secretary of state to produce statutory guidance on victim identification and victim services
  • enable the secretary of state to make regulations relating to the identification of and support for victims
  • make provision for independent child trafficking advocates
  • introduce a new reparation order to encourage the courts to compensate victims where assets are confiscated from perpetrators
  • enable law enforcement to stop boats where slaves are suspected of being held or trafficked
  • require businesses over a certain size to disclose each year what action they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chains

The Modern Slavery Act and its explanatory notes are available on the Parliament website.

Guidance for enforcement officers


Independent reviews


Published 10 June 2014
Last updated 30 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. New report on the economic and social costs of modern slavery.

  2. Maritime enforcement powers code of practice added.

  3. Factsheets published.

  4. First published.