As the migrant crisis rages on in Europe the topic of modern slavery is never far from the headlines. With this domination of headlines it is timely that the UK Modern slavery Act, which passed into law in March 2015, has now come into full effect.
The BBC reports that the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) says more than 700,000 migrants have reached Europe by boat so far this year. This influx of migrants vulnerable to exploitation in their new host nations brings an increased need for business to address the issue and do their part to stamp out modern slavery.
Transparency in supply chains
Section 54 of the Act includes a ground-breaking transparency provision in supply chains. As of October 26 2015, companies with a turnover of £36 million or more will face tougher sanctions if they do not ensure that they are doing everything they can to eradicate slavery and trafficking from their supply chains. The companies will be required to publish an annual statement demonstrating what they are doing to ensure slave labour is not being used in their supply chain.
Where many of organisations already have processes in place to ensure their supply chains remain free of modern slavery and it is anticipated that the Act will formalise and standardise this. Demanding organisations to be transparent about their commitment to eradicating modern slavery in supply chains approach will give the public, consumers and investors the information they need to make informed decisions about who it is they are really doing business with. The UK is the first country to announce such legislation for supply chain transparency, read full details of the Modern Slavery Act here.
Steps to ensure your organisation is compliant
As a quick overview, below we've listed below 10 steps that businesses need to consider to ensure compliance with the act:
For many years the supply chain has been the Achilles Heel for businesses. It has become increasingly difficult for companies to turn a blind eye to the provenance of the products that they distribute and sell. Modern businesses are recognising the importance of having a transparent supply chain – not just their suppliers, but those that supply the suppliers as well. The impact of having limited control over the long tail of a supply chain can have a serious impact on the company's reputation. The Modern Slavery Act now makes addressing these issues a matter of law and there will be no hiding place for businesses complicit - either actively or passively - in modern slavery.
p.s. 3 ways you can apply this information right now to better understand your responsibility in Human Trafficking awareness