A charity campaigner has backed a Government bill which could see human traffickers given maximum life prison sentences.
Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, has spoken in support of the Modern Slavery Bill.
Published in November last year, it aims to consolidate the offences used to prosecute those who enslave others into a single act.
Under the government’s plans, those convicted of the most serious offences could get a maximum life sentence.
The bill would also create a new post of anti-slavery commissioner to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.
The plans were first unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May in August 2013.
Mrs Cox, who is a senior advisor to the Freedom Fund, said: “I have met deeply traumatised Congolese and Ugandan children who as young as eight were forcibly recruited by warlords as child soldiers.
“These children are brutalised and forced to commit atrocities on fellow abductees and even family members, and those who try to escape are killed.
“They live in a state of constant fear, violence becomes a way of life and the psychological trauma is incalculable.
“After the Home Secretary had previously refused European co-operation to stop human trafficking, the Government is right to bring forward new measures to tackle this evil.”
Support for the Bill follows a recent case in Cleckheaton where two Hungarian men were jailed for their part in a large scale human trafficking ring, which saw victims forced into slavery.
Heckmondwike-based Janos Orsos, 43, was sentenced to five years behind bars for masterminding the sophisticated scam in which fellow countrymen were paid as little as £10 per week for working up to 100 hours.
Up to 50 men were kept in a single Batley house.
Ferenc Illes, 25, of Beckett Walk, Dewsbury, was also jailed for three years.