Modern Slavery

There are believed to be over 40 million people enslaved worldwide, generating an estimated US $150 billion in illegal profits per year. Types of slavery include child trafficking, forced labour/debt bondage, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude.  


There is no typical victim of slavery. Victims are men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities and cut across the population. However, it’s normally more prevalent among the most vulnerable or within minority or socially excluded groups. Approximately 53% of victims in the UK are women, and 46% are men. 


Poverty, limited opportunities at home, lack of education, unstable social and political conditions, economic imbalances and war are some of the key drivers that contribute to someone’s vulnerability in becoming a victim of modern slavery. What’s more, victims can often face more than one type of abuse and slavery, for example, being sold on to another trafficker and then forced into another form of exploitation.


In 2017, potential victims were reported from 116 different countries of origin. The top six most common countries of origin for potential victims were Albania, Vietnam, Nigeria, Romania, the UK and India. The number of British people identified as modern slavery victims surged by 72 per cent between 2017-18 and 2018-19.


The UK Modern Slavery Act

The Modern Slavery Act requires organisations with a turnover exceeding £36m, and which supply goods and services in the UK, to publish an annual statement explaining what they are doing to eliminate slavery from their businesses and supply chains.


The Modern Slavery Act came into Force in 2015. This insight gives an overview of the Act; focusing on the impact on Supply Chains and the role of Procurement and actions required to support the organisation.

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The Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018

The Australian legislation requires organisations based, or operating in Australia, with a turnover exceeding AUD $100 million, to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, the actions taken to address those risks and the effectiveness of those actions. Other entities based, or operating in Australia may report voluntarily.


The Act came into force in January 2019 and from early 2020 we will see the first reports coming through. Those reports are kept by the Minister in a public repository known as the Modern Slavery Statements Register, which will be accessible by the public, free of charge, on the internet.


For organisations with operations in both Australia and the UK, reporting under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 will suffice for the UK legislation and the same report can be submitted. This does not work inversely.


Modern Slavery




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Implications of Covid-19 for modern slavery challenges in supply chain management

This report shares the results of an empirical study of 489 UK-based practitioners that examines if, and how, the new Covid-19 business landscape affects commitments to tackle modern slavery in corporate supply chains.


In response to the pandemic, waves of lockdowns and restrictions around the world stopped demand for some industries, whilst simultaneously, in other industries, huge surges for particular products and services exceeded supply capacity It is against this backdrop of competing priorities, dynamic supply markets, and changing policy environments that this research was conducted.


The study aimed to:

  • Investigate the impact of Covid-19 on firms’ prioritisation of addressing modern slavery in their supply chains.
  • Identify effective methods for building commitment to addressing modern slavery when other commercial priorities dominate sourcing decisions.

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CIPS Procurement Content

CIPS Procurement Content

Modern Slavery Statements

Modern slavery in supply chain: an introduction for procurement professionals.

The increase in global sourcing opportunities has highlighted some serious issues in procurement practices, in particular the occurrence in the supply chain, unwittingly or otherwise, of modern slavery. From every perspective – reputational, financial and ethical – this is not acceptable in the 21st century.

Whatever sector or global region you work in, we urge you to read this guide to understand the issues and know where to go for assistance so that you can begin to make a real difference in your business and in society.


Ethics and Sustainable Procurement

Tackling Modern Slavery in Supply Chains

The information in this resource is primarily aimed at procurement, supply chain and sustainability professionals in companies, organisations and governments. It is aimed at those who want concrete guidance on how to reduce or eliminate the risk of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains, either as a direct or indirect result of their procurement practices. For the purpose of simplicity, we use the terms company, however this Guide is relevant to all governments and any other organisation wishing to tackle slavery in their supply chains. Finally, this Guide is intended to be a comprehensive system of meaningful action to address modern slavery within an organisation’s operations and is designed for verification.



Further Reading and Tools

Further Reading and Tools

Research Findings/News Insights

Training and Corporate Programmes

Training and Corporate Programmes


We run two training courses on this topic:

  • Modern Slavery Awareness: Educate your team with in-depth training on how to spot slavery in your supply chain, what to do if you find it and ways to prevent it.
  • Modern Slavery Act: Explore writing a modern slavery statement for your organisation and discover practical ways your business can assess risk. 

Join an open course taking place in central locations throughout the year, or speak to us about an in-company course which can be tailored to your exact needs.

Corporate programmes

The Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain Programme is designed to examine your supply chain policies, procedures and strategy in targeted detail. Acting as a catalyst for change, the programme helps you to achieve a sustainable supply chain, following the process set out below.

Modern Slavery Programme process

Find out more about how we can help your organisation to stamp out slavery.