On 26 March, Royal Assent was given to the Modern Slavery Act 2015. In a statement issued on the day, Cardinal Vincent said:
'I welcome the Modern Slavery Act 2015 as the Bill receives Royal Assent today. While no Act can cover everything in the serious criminal activity of human trafficking and modern slavery, which abuses vulnerable people, the enhanced support and protection for victims is particularly to be welcomed.
'Along with many others, the Catholic Church through the Bakhita Initiative and the Santa Marta Group where police chiefs and the Church work together internationally is committed to working towards the eradication of modern slavery. As Pope Francis said at the launch of the Santa Marta Group last year in the Vatican, the crime of trafficking and modern slavery is a crime against humanity; a wound on the body of Christ.
'I echo the Home Secretary’s words today when she describes the presence of modern slavery in today’s society as an affront to the dignity and humanity of every one of us. It is also important to recognise the vital role of Theresa May in ensuring the passage of this legislation. I pay tribute to her personal commitment to rid our society of this scourge and the support she has given to all those who seek to combat the traffickers and to care for the victims of trafficking.'
The Santa Marta Group, led by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Cardinal Vincent, is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society to eradicate human trafficking and provide pastoral care to victims.