The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) is aimed at combating crimes of slavery and human trafficking.
The MSA recognises that businesses have a role to play in tackling these crimes. Section 54 of the MSA requires commercial organisations, having a global turnover above £36 million, to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year that ends on or after 31 March 2016.
The statement must disclose what steps the organisation has taken to ensure that human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains or its business; or state that it has taken no such steps. This aims to ensure that businesses are transparent about what they are doing to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.
Policy commitments, materials and guidance are advisable as follows:
Slavery and human trafficking statement
Slavery and human trafficking statement, which outlines the requirement in section 54 of the MSA for large commercial organisations to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement in each financial year and contains information about their structure, business, supply chains, due diligence processes, training, assessment and management of risk, and whether the steps taken are effective to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains.
Checklist, to help the organisation prepare the annual statement under section 54, and to assess the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in the supply chain.
Criminal offences overview of the offences that may be committed and the sentences that may be imposed under the MSA.
Relevant policies may include:
Anti-slavery and human trafficking policy, which is designed to assist the company comply with the MSA. The policy gives workers, contractors and other business partners guidance on slavery and human trafficking and the measures taken by the organisation to tackle slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains. Smaller organisations may wish to use a cut-down version of this document.
Whistleblowing policy which provides workers with guidance on the procedure for reporting suspected wrongdoing and the protection available policy.
Approval by the board
The MSA requires the slavery and human trafficking statement to be approved by the organisation, so these documents are necessary also:
Modern Slavery Act 2015: memorandum to board of directors, which sets out for the board the changes to UK law introduced by section 54 of the MSA, which requires commercial organisations that carry on business in the UK and have a global turnover above £36 million to disclose the steps they have taken to ensure that their business and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking.
Board minutes: slavery and human trafficking statement, which are intended for use in connection with the company approving a slavery and human trafficking statement in accordance with section 54 of the MSA.
These can be adapted for use by other organisations, such as partnerships.
Organisations should consider whether to include wording in commercial agreements that have a connection with its supply chains, which prohibits the use of forced or trafficked labour.
Due diligence questionnaire
It is also sensible to complete a due diligence questionnaire to assess the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in the supply chain.