Modern slavery refers to the institutions of slavery that continue to exist in the present day. Estimates of the number of slaves today range from around 21 million to 29 million. While the majority of slaves are found in developing countries, slavery also exists on a smaller scale in advanced democratic nations, for example the UK, where Home Office estimates suggest 10,000 to 13,000 victims.
In order to combat this situation, large commercial companies with a turnover of at least £36 million per year now have to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. The statement must set out the steps that the company has taken during that year to make sure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, or in any part of its own business. If the company has not taken any such steps, it must still publish a statement to that effect. The duty to produce a statement applies to financial years ending on or after 31 March 2016.
While this might not apply directly to your business – if your turnover is below £36 million – you might still want to know about it, when considering larger businesses to trade with.
While you might not have to produce a statement, you might like to produce one to show to potential clients. There is no set template for a slavery and human trafficking statement yet, but we recommend that your statement covers issues such as your countries of operation and supply, the process by which your company assesses whether or not particular activities or countries are high risk in relation to slavery or human trafficking and which of your company’s activities are considered to be at high risk of slavery or human trafficking. The statement should also cover any training that your company requires your staff who are working in specific countries or with certain supply chain managers to complete, to make them aware of the issues of modern slavery and how to prevent it.
If you would like some help in putting together the most appropriate statement for your business, call us on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email us.