UK govt. publishes independent review of Modern Slavery Act

Author: Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP, Baroness Butler-Sloss, Published on: 22 May 2019

'Independent review of the Modern Slavery Act: final report' 22 May 2019

...While [the Modern Slavery Act] has contributed to greater awareness of modern slavery in companies’ supply chains, a number of companies are approaching their obligations as a mere tick-box exercise, and it is estimated around 40 per cent of eligible companies are not complying with the legislation at all...

Stakeholders were clear that the lack of clarity, guidance, monitoring and enforcement in modern slavery statements needed to be addressed to increase compliance and quality. We agree and recommend that companies should not be able to state they have taken no steps to address modern slavery in their supply chains, as the legislation currently permits, and that the six areas of reporting currently recommended in guidance should be made mandatory. We also recommend that Government should set up a central repository for statements; that the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner should monitor transparency; sanctions for non-compliance should be strengthened; and that Government should bring forward proposals for an enforcement body to enforce sanctions against non-compliant companies...

The Review concluded that the definition of exploitation in the Act is sufficient... We therefore recommend that, rather than amending the Act to refer to new forms of exploitation, Government should issue policy guidance to assist in interpretation of the Act....

Our Review has made 80 recommendations. We believe that these recommendations as a whole, if implemented, will enable the Modern Slavery Act to retain, consolidate and develop its status as a world-leading piece of legislation...

In a statement, the Modern Slavery Registry - run by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - has welcomed the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act's final report.

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