71Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour
(1)A person (D) commits an offence if—
(a)D holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is so held, or
(b)D requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is being required to perform such labour.
(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention (which prohibits a person from being held in slavery or servitude or being required to perform forced or compulsory labour).
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the relevant period or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;
(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or a fine, or both.
(4)In this section—
“Human Rights Convention” means the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms agreed by the Council of Europe at Rome on 4 November 1950;
“the relevant period” means—
in relation to England and Wales, 12 months;
in relation to Northern Ireland, 6 months.
Now there is a get out here. The imposition of involuntary, forced or coerced labour is allowed if it still conforms to Section 4 of the Human Rights Act which reads:
Article 4 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
1 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2 No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
3 For the purpose of this Article the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall not include:
(a) any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during conditional release from such detention;
(b) any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;
(c) any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;
(d) any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.
These people aren\’t entirely stupid of course. Normal civic obligations includes the unpaid time we must use to fill in tax forms, the unpaid time we must use to fill in the Census, the unpaid time ….well, you get the picture.
However, the requirement to sort your rubbish is not a normal civic obligation. It\’s an attempt to create a new civic obligation. It\’s also labour and it\’s also performed under duress….don\’t do it and they\’ll arrest you, resist arrest and they\’ll use violence.
And this would hold true for any new service which the government would force us to provide unpaid and with the threat of punishment if we don\’t.
Isn\’t that fascinating?