One year on from the introduction of the legislation how much impact has it had and who has complied with the reporting requirements?
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 became part of UK Corporate requirements in August 2015, placing all corporates with a turnover of over £36 million under an obligation to provide a report identifying the steps being taken to ensure their business and supply chains are slavery free.
Transparency of arrangements – either positive steps to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place across your organisations supply chain or an admission that no such steps have (yet) been taken – is required.
Have you complied?
If you fall within the threshold, have you complied? And has it prompted you to critically examine what you are doing to comply or is the legislation proving to be good in theory, but fairly toothless in practice?
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 is an offence, but the Government’s intention has always been that companies should feel the need to comply to avoid reputation damage and scrutiny from pressure groups creating the risk of bad publicity.
The race to the top
The purpose of the legislation is to require, but at the same time, inspire businesses to take steps to prevent Modern Slavery. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre Watchdog has revealed a list of 540 organisations that have produced anti-slavery disclosure statements for the 2015 – 2016 financial year. This is all part and parcel of the “race to the top” in respect of good corporate governance with a view to assisting investors and consumers identify and benchmark company performance in this new area of regulation and overall in contrast to their peers.
Don’t get left behind!
A factory owner who employed large numbers of Hungarians as a ‘slave workforce’ in his multi-million pound bed manufacturing business has been sentenced to 27 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to traffic. The case came to light after two Hungarians were arrested and subsequently convicted of human trafficking charges.