Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability Victoria Atkins has warned businesses that do not tackle slavery face “tougher consequences”.
Atkins, speaking after an anti-slavery forum for business chiefs, said the Home Office would be writing to firms that “continue to flout their legal obligations”.
“The companies here today are leading the way by taking robust action to prevent slavery in their supply chains, but other businesses have failed to fulfil their legal obligations or have published weak statements which are lacking in detail,” she said.
“All businesses need to step up and help eliminate slavery. My department will be writing directly to the CEOs of businesses which continue to flout their legal obligations – and if this persists they can expect to face tougher consequences.”
She added: “This government is proud to lead the world in ending this terrible injustice through the Modern Slavery Act and an advanced law enforcement response. However we know that, hidden from view in the supply chains that produce the goods and services we consume, there is an underbelly of forced labour that we must eradicate.”
Atkins met with chief executives from Aviva, Co-op, Associated British Foods, BT and Sky to discuss how to “accelerate progress” in eradicating forced labour.
Mark Wilson, chief executive of Aviva, said: “We need all companies to be clear about what they are doing to tackle the problem until it is stamped out.”
The meeting saw company-led initiatives being discussed, including the Co-op’s Bright Future programme, giving survivors a pathway to paid employment, and HSBC’s survivor bank accounts.
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