Since its recent introduction, the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015) has sought to incentivise businesses to tackle the issue of modern slavery. It brought with it the introduction of three new offenses:
1. Holding people in slavery or servitude or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour;
2. The arranging or facilitating of human trafficking, arranging the travel of people with a view to exploiting them; and
3. Committing an offence with the intention of human trafficking, including aiding and abetting.
One way the MSA 2015 seeks to bring an end to modern slavery is by way of transparency. The MSA 2015 requires that businesses which provide good or services with an annual turnover of £36 million or more publish an annual statement which discloses the steps they are undertaking to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking within their own business practices or within their respective supply chains.
So, what does this mean for businesses with an annual turnover of less than £36 million?
It is likely having a trickle-down effect, as smaller companies within the supply chains are being reviewed by larger businesses before engaging in business. Some smaller companies already practice the transparency of their bigger counterparts, publishing their own slavery and human traffic statements.
As an employer, it is important that you ask questions about the businesses you engage with. It is important that you be transparent about your practices and values, and that you share these values with your supply chains and business associates.
If you suspect that one of the businesses you work with might be engaging in illegal practices, report it to the relevant authorities. Do not be complicit in such practices. You have an obligation, as a business, to monitor your supply chains.
If you have any queries about modern slavery, implementing policies, conducting investigations or litigation, please contact Samira Cakali or Courtney Janotta on 0113 350 4030 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.