Anti-Slavery Day is coming up on 18th October 2020. This is a national day created by the Anti-Slavery Day Act 2010 to raise awareness of the need to eradicate all forms of slavery (and forced labour), human trafficking and exploitation.
Slavery is something that we, as a society, are still struggling with. We know all too well about the recent allegations against Boohoo in relation to the working conditions of garment makers in its UK supply chain and, of course, the issues brought to light even within the NHS PPE supply chain during COVID-19.
The Government have recently released its response to last year’s Modern Slavery Reporting consultation, introducing new measures aimed at increasing transparency in modern slavery reporting. This will extend those reporting obligations to not just all commercial organisations with a turnover of £36 million, but public bodies too. These obligations include having to regularly report on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in operations, and importantly, even when they haven’t taken any steps towards securing their supply chain and operations against these practices.
These slavery and human trafficking statements will need to be prepared for every financial year and need to be displayed on the relevant company websites with ‘a link in a prominent place on its homepage’.
More guidance should be made available later this year or in early 2021 but these new measures in relation to the public sector are very welcome. I have previously mentioned in one of my last articles that I am currently working with a client who has alleged that he was a victim of forced labour, as a Consultant in the NHS. Please see my article, the article in the Guardian and head to my client’s crowd justice page linked here.
Of course, much more needs to be done to fully protect and support those affected by this scourge, while putting more protections in place to prevent such situations from re-occurring or even occurring at all.
There is no place for modern slavery in our society, nor in our business exchanges. I am hopeful that this increased transparency and accountability in the reporting of modern slavery issues, and the extension to include public bodies, will lead to significant positive changes in this area.