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Modern slavery

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) introduced a requirement for large commercial organisations to prepare and publish a statement setting out the measures the company has taken to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in any part of its business.

Who will need to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement?

The requirement to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement applies to commercial organisations with a minimum global turnover of £36 million per year and whose business or part of it is carried out in the UK.

A commercial organisation, in this context, means a body corporate or partnership, which may have been incorporated or formed anywhere in the world. The obligation applies to businesses which supply goods
and services and, if the organisation engages in commercial activities, is irrespective of the purpose of the activity and whether profits are made.

If a business fails to comply with the legislation, it can be enforced by civil proceedings for an injunction. Whilst it is open to a business to simply confirm that it has taken no steps, clearly this will have a potentially adverse impact on the business’ public image.

How Clarke Willmott can help

We can offer advice and assistance with:

  • creating a checklist of points to consider/steps to take;
  • drafting a memorandum to the board explaining the impact of the anti-slavery legislation;
  • assistance with drafting the obligatory annual statement;
  • drafting board minutes (as the statement must be approved by the board);
  • drafting an internal anti-slavery HR policy (to demonstrate your business’ approach and compliance); and
  • drafting commercial terms to include in supply contracts (to enable effective tracking of compliance through the supply chain).

Complying with the new legislation will involve a certain level of due diligence for both the organisation and its supply chain. Where there are many levels in the supply chain, ascertaining the risks could become quite complicated; the relationship between the organisation and its suppliers will be central to managing the process and reviewing current supply contracts will be essential.

For further information on the implications of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and how it may affect your business, please contact Sharon Latham.

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