Slavery Not an old-fashioned problem
It is interesting to us how many times when we mention the issue of slavery, many people consider that this is a historic problem and not one that they need to address their minds to today.
The fact is that many employers know who they are employing in their firm but have very little knowledge or control over their supply chains. Do you know where the person cleaning your offices gets their cleaners from and their terms and conditions? If you outsource IT or office admin skills, what are the terms and conditions of those workers?
The UK is taking steps to address the problem but there remains a concern that the current approaches being adopted are inadequate.
In a recent House of Lords debate, there was discussion about companies doing the absolute minimum to comply with their obligations. The Government were asked if they would look at developing “infrastructure to enforce compliance” and to make it clear that non-reporting is not good enough.
Unfortunately, it will take time before such legislation is embedded and the Government has obviously more important things on its mind with regards to Brexit.
The Home Office has published guidance for businesses on meeting their statutory applications, which was updated in October 2017. At present compliance with these guidelines is, amongst other things, limited to those with annual turnover of £36m or more. For those who feel it is an important part of their ethos and want to do something about it, should look at the document with regards to writing a slavery and human trafficking statement which will be a public facing document to present the company’s ethos to the wider market.