Modern slavery prosecutions multiply in the UK
- In 2016, 51 new prosecutions were started under the Modern Slavery Act, over four times as many as happened during the Act's first year of implementation, 2015, Supply Management reported Monday.
- Under the Modern Slavery Act, every company with a U.K. footprint and earnings of more than £36 million ($40.5 million) must annually publish a statement detailing their efforts to address modern slavery within their supply chain.
- In addition to various legal cases, companies who fail to comply or are caught ignoring potential slavery conditions have been publicly shamed.
The push to drive out modern slavery is growing worldwide, and U.K. regulators' increased activity bringing forth violations is an encouraging signs for those advocating for more ethical supply chains.
Compared to other regulations, the U.K.'s law is not the most stringent in terms of compliance, although it is broad in scope. Foreign companies operating in the U.K. must still comply with the country's regulations, and it applies to operations abroad. However, the most enforceable clause merely requires a plan to evaluate and address modern slavery problems, something many companies already do.
France, by contrast, goes further in requiring a mechanism to receive alerts of violations from workers as well as the organizations that serve them locally within a company's "plan of vigilance." Companies in violation of this law, meanwhile, could be charged up to £10 million ($11.2 million). U.S. laws, meanwhile, control imports rather than companies; although companies with operations in California, much like the U.K., must report on anti-slavery initiatives.
Reporting legislation is often perceived as toothless, however the U.K. Department of Justice is showing a willingness to enforce the rules. With the new rule in France, and a similar although more spotty anti-slavery infrastructure in the U.S., compliance for global companies will become increasingly important.
- World Economic Forum 45 million people are victims of modern slavery. Here are five steps to setting them free
- Supply Chain Dive France passes law requiring supply chain due diligence
- Supply Management CIPS Modern Slavery Act prosecutions more than quadruple
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