The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Act) requires certain businesses to prepare and publish a slavery and trafficking statement for each financial year from the year ending 31 March 2016.
This may impact organisations in Asia where, for example, the business activities of a subsidiary form part of the supply chain of a UK business or where organisations are striving towards eradicating human rights abuses in their business and supply chains. Is your company compliant?
Contents of statement
The requirement under the Act is that relevant organisations1 must prepare "a statement of the steps the organisation has taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place: (i) in any of its supply chains, and (ii) in any part of its own business" or otherwise publish a statement that the organisation has taken no such steps.
While the Act itself does not prescribe further what the statement must contain, guidance published by the UK Government states that the statement may include information on:
- the organisation’s structure, its business and its supply chains;
- its policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking;
- its due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains;
- the parts of its business and supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place, and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk;
- its effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate; and
- the training about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.
Companies and employers should consider:
- preparing or reviewing policies in relating to forced labour, slavery and human trafficking;
- assessing the business and supply chains to identify areas of heightened risk of forced labour;
- reviewing commercial arrangements, in particular those with recruitment agencies, labour hire providers and suppliers to ensure adequate protections against forced labour, slavery and human trafficking are in place;
- ensuring employees at all level of the organisation are provided with training on the risks of forced labour, slavery and human trafficking and the steps the organisation is taking to ensure this does not occur;
- ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of its policies, systems and training.
Herbert Smith Freehills can assist you with achieving compliance. To discuss how, please contact Fatim Jumabhoy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 The requirement broadly applies to businesses supplying goods or services with a turnover in excess of £36 million and who carry out business in the UK.