The Modern Slavery Act came into force last month and potentially has far reaching consequences. Organisations with a turnover of £36 million or more are required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement within 6 months of their financial year end. It will also affect organisations with less than the threshold as they may still be asked to supply information to their customers and make commercial commitments to prevent slavery within their supply chains.
Organisations should analyse their supply chains in detail to identify the risk of slavery and human trafficking. The government has published practical guidance to help manage these obligations.
As globalisation continues, so does the slave trade. The importance of this issue is therefore likely to intensify, along with the commercial pressure on companies to demonstrate a commitment to eradicating modern day slavery. However, there are some barriers that will prevent organisations from being able to properly monitor the labour conditions of its supply chain workers, such as the use of third party agency workers, which causes a “blur in the accountability for labour conditions”