What does the Modern Slavery Act mean for UK Businesses?

July 30, 2020 7:14 am, Published by , Leave your thoughts

This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 July), we want to discuss the role businesses have to play in addressing human trafficking and modern slavery* in the UK, and invite you to register for a free webinar where we will discuss ‘What does the Modern Slavery Act 2015 mean for me? Reflections on the last 5 years of implementation.’

According to the International Labour Organisation, 24.9 million people are trapped in situations of forced labour globally. The majority of those people (16 million) are exploited in the private sector in ‘high-risk’ industries like agriculture, construction, waste management and hospitality. Therefore, businesses clearly have a key role to play in addressing the risks associated with labour exploitation and forced labour. Whilst life may have paused for some during the pandemic, people across the world continue to exploit others for financial gain. Only last week, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) identified 17 potential victims of labour exploitation in Suffolk.

In the UK, the government introduced the ‘Modern Slavery Act 2015’ under which, businesses across all sectors with a turnover above £36 million have to report annually on the steps they are taking to address the risks of modern slavery both in their own organisation and supply chains. Whilst some businesses are taking proactive steps to reduce modern slavery risks, compliance with the legislation is still low. As the Rights Lab report ‘Agriculture and Modern Slavery Act Reporting’ uncovers, the overall compliance with the Act, remains generally low, even in high-risk sectors.

So why are so few businesses complying with the Modern Slavery Act when according to the recent Operation Fort report from the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, “no supply chain is safe from worker exploitation”?

Although a number of leading businesses are taking proactive steps to embed practices to address modern slavery risks such as risk mapping, social auditing, worker engagement and training teams to spot and report the signs, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Wherever businesses are in their journey to tackle modern slavery, there is always the next step to take.

To provide businesses with an uncomplicated breakdown of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and clarify what implications it has for businesses, we are running a free live webinar on the 19th of August where we will discuss ‘What does the Modern Slavery Act 2015 mean for me? Reflections on the last 5 years of implementation.’

We will be joined by speakers from JZ Flowers and Multiplex who will share how the legislation has impacted their organisations, as well as a representative from the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to reflect on the current status of implementation of compliance activities by UK businesses.  Find out more about this session and register for free.

In the meantime, listen again to a range of previous webinars for insights on tackling modern slavery across multiple global industries.

* In the UK, the term ‘modern slavery’ is used when referring to human trafficking, slavery, forced or compulsory labour and servitude.

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