The Government has published the final report of its Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act which sets out a series of proposals for toughening up existing legislation – notably in terms of transparency in supply chains.
For example, it says, companies should not be able to state that they have taken no steps to address modern slavery in their supply chain as legislation currently permits.
Other recommendations include imposing sanctions on non-compliant companies, including the public sector in the Act, and requiring businesses to have a designated board member who is personally accountable for the production of a Modern Slavery statement.
Cath Hill, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said: “The true cost of modern slavery is buried deep within global supply chains. The unfortunate truth is that slaves from around the world are involved in every part of our lives, making the clothes we wear and the food we eat. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
“Businesses are left to police their own supply chains but too many of them do not know how best to tackle modern slavery and are seeking more guidance. The Modern Slavery Act has made great strides in raising awareness but businesses face no consequences if they fail to implement even the most basic checks to prevent modern day slavery.
“The review is absolutely right, the Government must take an active role in compelling companies to act. Compliance must be monitored, business leaders held accountable and fines issued.”