Traffickers who recruited migrants to work at Sports Direct’s warehouse were convicted under the Modern Slavery Act ©PA Archive/PA Images
Traffickers who recruited migrants to work at Sports Direct’s warehouse were convicted under the Modern Slavery Act ©PA Archive/PA Images

Modern slavery statements: The progress so far

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
1 September 2017

With many companies beginning their second supply chain statements, in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act, SM reflects on progress so far

Over the last two and a half years, modern slavery, a crime for so long hidden in the shadows, has become a boardroom issue. The UN estimates there are around 21 million people in forced labour worldwide, and thousands of them are in the UK, hidden in the supply chains of businesses operating on British soil.

The passing of the Modern Slavery Act on 25 March 2015 was the first watershed moment, with the act championed by then-home secretary Theresa May, to ensure severe punishments for perpetrators and enhanced protection and support for victims.

From 31 March 2016, every business with a turnover of more than £36m and a footprint in the UK was required to publish an annual transparency statement. To comply, the statement must be linked in a prominent part of their homepage, approved by the board, and signed by a director.

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