The British Modern Slavery Act 2015 (‘the Act’) has been designed to encourage companies that outsource or subcontract work to take responsibility for every stage of their business. The most important mechanism in the Act is found in Section 54, the transparency in supply chains provision. This requires large companies, with a presence in the UK, to publish a statement on their website detailing the steps they have taken to ensure there is no slavery or trafficking within their organisation or supply chains. The British Government hopes that the information will allow shoppers to make ‘more informed decisions at the checkout’, and provide a ‘strong incentive for businesses to take the issue seriously’.
Human Rights at Sea has produced a new Briefing Note covering the issues raised by the UK Act. It outlines the definition, who is affected, reporting requirements, the details to be contained within Company Statements and outlines legal routes to compliance.