Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Anti-Slavery Day Bill

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Speaking in support of his Anti-Slavery Day Bill on 5 February 2010, Conservative MP Anthony Steen said: "Modern-day slavery exists here in Britain, and needs to be stamped out."

The private member's bill would create a national anti-slavery day in England and Wales to raise awareness of "the dangers and consequences of modern-day slavery and human trafficking".

The bill defines modern-day slavery as child trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Between 1995-2005 there were an estimated 2.4 million victims of human trafficking, around 80% of whom were women and children.

The MP for Totnes argued that more people were in slavery now than when slavery was legal, and that human trafficking was the second largest illegal industry after the drugs trade.

Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Taylor paid tribute to Mr Steen's campaigning on the issue.

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green described the bill as an "important initiative".

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the government would not oppose the bill, but argued that strategies were already in place to combat trafficking, including co-operation with the EU and work with agencies in African countries.

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