Modern Day Slavery
Statistics released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) show there were 3,805 people referred for help in 2016 – up from 1,745 people in 2013. Home Office estimates suggest there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. This does not include anyone affected further down the supply chain in other countries.
It’s easy to think that slavery doesn’t happen where you live or work. It might be your organisation could encounter or even employ a victim of slavery without even realising it…
UK Sectors most at risk from Modern Slavery
In 2016 the government launched “Operation Magnify” a cross-government initiative aimed at clamping down on illegal workers by targeting specific “Risk Industries” these included; Construction, The Care Sector, Catering and also Taxis and Private Hire.
Slaves are working in restaurants, nail bars, car washes and as domestic help, and can be invisible to those who think “slavery doesn’t happen where I work and live”. If you operate in these sectors it is now even more important that your organisation understands the legislation and employees are trained to spot the telltale signs of modern slavery.
Modern Slavery Act 2015
With penalties that can include prison and fines that have exceeded £20,000 per illegal worker, there is much more than a simple moral imperative to ensure that your business knows who it is employing and can prove they are working legally and not under duress from a third party.
The provision in the Modern Slavery Act for transparency in supply chains takes the obligations beyond direct employees and is clear that it is not acceptable for an organisation to say that “they did not know” or to ignore and supply chain issues because they were too complex or difficult to uncover. A complex supply chain spread over different countries and with various suppliers contributing to the final product or service can make it difficult to detect slavery beyond the first tier of suppliers. A recent example of this is the shrimp in supermarkets traced back to suppliers using forced labour in Thailand. This can mean additional training demands that extend to backroom functions like Purchasing and Procurement as well as those in HR, Payroll or on the front line.