Refuge responds to today’s Queen’s Speech

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of RefugeSandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:


“I applaud the Government for its commitment to tackling violence against women in all its forms and for introducing the Modern Slavery Bill. There is no place in our so-called civilised society for the trafficking and enslavement of human beings. This horrific crime must be stamped out.

I am encouraged that this Bill will strengthen the criminal justice response to perpetrators of this terrible crime. Slavery is an abuse of human rights. But what is written on paper must become reality: it will be down to our law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are tracked down and prosecutions are rigorously pursued. Alongside this work, effort must be made to prevent slavery through effective deterrent measures, training of professionals and wide-reaching awareness-raising campaigns. Services for victims are also essential. People must feel safe to come forward, knowing that they will be believed and supported.

At Refuge, we support over 3,000 women and children experiencing violence and abuse every single day. Some of our services also support male victims.  We support women who have been trafficked into this country; teenage girls who have been groomed and exploited by gangs and groups of older men; people who are forced into domestic servitude, marriage or prostitution; men and women enslaved through the bondage of debt; individuals who have had every aspect of their lives controlled, curtailed, blocked. We support victims of abuse to overcome the trauma they have experienced, regain control of their lives and move on, free from fear.  The UK must play a leading role on the global stage in the fight to eliminate slavery. Refuge is committed to a world in which everyone can live free from fear and violence. This Bill is a step in the right direction.”