Modern Slavery Act 2015
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force on 31st July 2015. It includes a raft of measures including trafficking reparation orders which encourage the courts to use seized assets to compensate victims and prevention orders to ensure that those who pose a risk of committing modern slavery offences cannot work in relevant fields, such as with children or as gangmasters.
In addition, all UK businesses with an annual turnover of more than £36M are required to publish an annual compliance statement describing the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any of their supply chains or their own business. Alternatively, businesses must disclose that they have taken no such steps - which could have a detrimental impact on brand and reputation.
The Act does not specify what steps a business must take on the issue of human rights in the supply chain, but it has identified five general areas of activity that should be included in a slavery and human trafficking statement. These are:
a brief description of an organisation's business model and supply chain relationships;
a business’s policies relating to modern slavery, including due diligence and auditing processes implemented;
training available and provided to those in 1) supply chain management and 2) the rest of the organisation;
the principal risks related to slavery and human trafficking including, how the organisation evaluates and manages those risks in their organisation and their supply chain; and
relevant key performance indicators.
The Modern Slavery Act compliance statement must be signed by a senior executive and published within 6 months of year end, accessible from the front page of a company's website or, if it has no website, sent within 30 days in response to a written request.