Firms in UK will have to reveal efforts to stop supply chain slavery and trafficking

Firms in UK will have to reveal efforts to stop supply chain slavery and trafficking
Sarah Butler
@whatbutlersaw

From October all companies doing business in the UK with a turnover of £36m or more will have to deliver annual statement covering international supply chains

The major supermarkets, the likes of Primark, Marks & Spencer and well-known food and technology brands, will all have to set out how they are preventing slavery and human trafficking taking place in their supply chains, under rules announced by the UK government.

From October, all companies doing business in the UK with a turnover of £36m or more will have to deliver an annual slavery and human trafficking statement covering their manufacturers, farmers and wholesalers elsewhere in the world.

If they have taken no steps to combat slavery, then this must also be disclosed.

The action forms part of a raft of measures enshrined in the Modern Slavery Act, which will come into force on Friday. The measures include trafficking reparation orders, which encourage the courts to use seized assets to compensate victims, and prevention orders to ensure that those who pose a risk of committing modern slavery offences cannot work in relevant fields, such as with children or as gangmasters.

David Noble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “With 11% of British business leaders saying it is likely that modern slavery already plays a role in their supply chains, this is clearly a pervasive issue that concerns us all.”

In 2014, the Guardian revealed Asian slave labour was producing prawns for a company called CP Foods, which supplied British retailers including Tesco, Aldi and Morrisons.

Earlier this month, the Guardian revealed how Burmese Rohingya migrants trafficked through deadly jungle camps had been sold to Thai fishing vessels as slaves to produce seafood sold across the world.

In the wake of scandals over horsemeat in ready meals and the death of thousands of workers in the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, businesses are under increasing pressure from consumers and investors to ensure they have more knowledge about the businesses which supply them.

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