Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism in the UK has announced the new powers of the Modern Slavery Act which came into force on August 9, 2016.
It will give law enforcement to intercept and search vessels which are suspected to be violating modern slavery laws.
Police and Border forces alongside the National Crime Agencies can seize evidence and arrest offenders, and such offenders can face life in prison.
Sarah Newton said: “Modern slavery is a crime that rips victims from their families, trapping them in a cycle of abuse at the hands of ruthless gangs.
“Officers from the Shetlands to the Isles of Scilly now have the power to arrest offenders and protect victims from this abhorrent crime whether on board a ship or on our shores.”
She concludes: “Our message is clear – the UK is taking action to protect victims.”
The full government legislation can be found here.