join our call for a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner

It’s been a year since the UK has had an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner – a champion of victims and survivors of modern slavery, whose role is required by law. Add your name to our letter, below, calling on the Home Secretary to urgently appoint someone to the position.
Join our call for a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner
Unseen’s letter to the Home Secretary – add your name

This petition is now closed.


Dear Home Secretary

The Government must stop dragging its feet over a new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

It has now been 12 months since the UK has had an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a UK-wide role with a remit to “encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery offences and the identification of victims.”

As an anti-slavery organisation, we are writing to express our serious concern that the appointment of a new Commissioner has been left to drift for so long.

This is particularly worrying in the current climate, where changes to legislation and policy will make the identification of modern slavery victims more difficult and will prevent them from accessing the right support.

As we pass the milestone of one year without a Commissioner, we are calling on the Government to urgently appoint someone credible to this post.

The new Commissioner needs to:

  • Be truly independent to work unhindered by political interference.
  • Encourage good practice to drive an increase in the identification and protection of victims of modern slavery, and to ensure the provision of enhanced support for all victims and survivors in the UK.
  • Drive effective prevention of slavery and human trafficking offences.
  • Promote an improved law enforcement and criminal justice response to modern slavery across the UK.
  • Engage with the private sector and promote policies to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery.

Victims of modern slavery are some of the most vulnerable in society and will have experienced all manner of horrors, from forced labour to being trafficked for sexual exploitation.

They deserve a dedicated and respected individual who understands the reality of modern slavery and can act as their champion. Having someone in this role is not only a legal requirement. It is also the mark of a civilised country.

Andrew Wallis OBE, Unseen CEO
On behalf of Unseen and its supporters

What you can do

There are two easy things you can do to support the campaign:

1) Sign our letter and add your voice to the growing number of people who want a new Commissioner appointed urgently. We will present our letter to the Home Office, and the more names we have behind it, the louder our message will be. Every signature counts.

2) Don’t stop there, share the letter on social media using the hashtag #StopTheDelay and invite your friends and family to join us in this campaign. 

(Note: we will not share your details with the Home Office.)

Thank you

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Justine Currell

As I came to understand more about the issue, including through a visit to an Unseen safehouse, I knew I needed to do more to stop this abuse and exploitation.

For the last five years of my Civil Service career, I was the Modern Slavery Senior Policy Advisor in the Home Office and led on development of the Modern Slavery Act, including the transparency in supply chains provision and business guidance.

I joined Unseen to lead the development of the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline, and Unseen’s work with businesses. I am regularly called upon to present at national and international conferences and use my experience of working with Ministers to influence other governments internationally to take action to address modern slavery and, in particular, business supply chain issues.

In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit, music, reading and travelling.

Andrew Wallis

What ultimately compelled me to act was a report on how people from Eastern Europe were being trafficked through Bristol airport to the USA. Kate Garbers, who went on to be an Unseen Director, and I wrote to all the city councillors, MPs and the Police Chief Constable challenging them on the issue. The challenge came back to us: this city needs safe housing for trafficked women. And so Unseen began.

But we never wanted Unseen to be just about safe housing. We wanted to end slavery once and for all, and that remains our driving focus.

I chaired the working group for the Centre for Social Justice’s landmark report “It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery”. This is now acknowledged as the catalyst behind the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015. It was a great honour to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours that year. On the other hand, I’ve also been described as “the loveliest disrupter you could ever hope to meet”.

This job has taken me from building flat-pack furniture for safehouses, to working with businesses to address slavery in supply chains, to delivering training, raising awareness and advising governments around the world.

When not at work, I enjoy travelling, spending time with my dog Harley, cooking, supporting Liverpool and Yorkshire CC, music (I’m a former DJ) and endurance events such as the Three Peaks Challenge and Tribe Freedom Runs – which I vow never to do again. Until the next time.