Modern Slavery Act 2015
46 million people worldwide live in modern slavery. To address the role of business in preventing modern slavery from occurring in an organisation and its supply chain, the United Kingdom government has enacted the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
An estimated 17,000 businesses will have to issue annual statements under Section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act. The Transparency in Supply Chains Clause of the Act specifies that any company with a turnover of £36 million or more, that supplies goods and services and conducts a business or part of a business in any part of the UK, is expected to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement.
Modern Slavery can happen at any point during employment, with many examples of forced labour categorisable into three separate events – Recruitment, Employment, and Exit.
Recruitment issues happen when workers are charged illegal or excessive fees, or are uninformed or misinformed about the terms of employment. In some cases, workers are not provided with understandable, legally compliant written contracts, or are charged fraudulently high fees for travel, health checks, or work documentation.
Employment issues include excessive or illegal wage deductions, requirement to stay in company or broker-controlled housing where workers are unable to enter or leave the premises freely. Some instances include excessive mandatory overtime. Workers can have their identity documents confiscated or withheld, wage deductions used as disciplinary measures, and even experience physically abusive or humiliating discipline and termination practices.
The inability for a worker to exit an organisation or job is classified as potential modern slavery. This happens when a worker’s visa and work permit is tied to a single employer or when a worker faces monetary penalties or withholding of wages, or early contract termination. In many cases, undocumented migrants are threatened with notification of authorities and workers are forced to pay financial deposits or “security” fees as “runaway insurance”.
How Intertek Can Help
Intertek offers complete solutions to help organisations not only meet the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, but to ensure a safe environment for all those working in their supply chain. This includes:
- Internal Organisation Support through recruitment agency and service provider audits, and due-diligence audits on company processes
- Supply Chain Solutions and Intertek Programmes, including Workplace Conditions Assessments
- Training and remediation programmes to improve education and compliance on the Modern Slavery Act, human and workers’ rights, anti-bribery, and other modern slavery policies
- Social Compliance Audit Services: Agency, surveillance, and sub-contracting audits, and Industry Association Programmes including BSCI, SEDEX, EICC
In addition, our Inlight tool can help your organisation map your supply base, screen for inherent risks, profile your suppliers, prioritise risk, and verify credentials for your entire supply chain in one online portal.
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