Government consults with businesses to tackle slavery in supply chains

February 20, 2015 11:03 am, Published by , Leave your thoughts

Karen Bradley, the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime last week announced the launch of a consultation with businesses to encourage transparency in supply chains.

Business will play a fundamental role in the years ahead in eliminating global slavery. This consultation is an important building block in this process and a welcome step in the right direction.

Responsible businesses, such as the Stronger Together project sponsors, have been calling for supply chain transparency to be an element of the Modern Slavery Bill, and it’s good to see that the government have listened.

Under the Modern Slavery Bill, large companies will have a legal duty to disclose to the public the steps they have taken to ensure modern slavery does not have a place anywhere in their business from the shop floor to the factory, anywhere in the world.

Supply chains are often long and complex, crossing international borders and using outsourced labour from across the globe. The requirements of the Modern Slavery Bill will put the emphasis on businesses to prove their supply chains are not infiltrated by slavery, leaving customers reassured that their purchases are not inadvertently supporting modern slavery.

The Modern Slavery Bill, published in June 2014, will be amongst the first Acts specifically tackling modern slavery in the world. Tackling hidden slavery in our supply chains is an essential part of the Bill and businesses need to be vigilant to the risks within their own supply chains.

The intention is that the Modern Slavery Bill will be made before the General Election, giving law enforcement the tools to tackle modern slavery and ensure that perpetrators can receive suitably severe sentences.

The consultation gives businesses the opportunity to have their say on what the statutory guidance for businesses should cover, and what size of business the ruling should apply to. To take part in the consultation, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/modern-slavery-and-supply-chains.

More about the Modern Slavery Bill can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery-bill.

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