A monumental advancement was made this week in tackling hidden labour exploitation when the Modern Slavery Act 2015 received Royal Assent.
The Home Office explain the huge significance of this Act in their news story, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/historic-law-to-end-modern-slavery-passed.
As well as giving law enforcement the tools they need to target modern slavery and severely punish perpetrators, this landmark Bill also includes provision to encourage business to take action to ensure their supply chains are slavery free. This ruling is hugely welcomed by responsible businesses, including the Stronger Together project sponsors, who have been calling for supply chain transparency to be an element of the Modern Slavery Bill.
The new Modern Slavery Act is one of the first in the world to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st century, and is the first of its kind in Europe. It sees the maximum sentence for the most serious offenders increased from 14 years to life imprisonment, and also establishes the UK’s first event Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner.
The consultation with businesses on some of the details of the Bill is still open. Organisations have until 7th May 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.
The Modern Slavery Act can be downloaded or viewed as a PDF here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/enacted