The Modern Slavery Bill has just reached the reporting stage in the House of Lords and is expected to gain Royal Assent before the General Election in May, 2015. The Bill has had an amendment introduced which places a requirement on companies to take the necessary steps to ensure their business and supply chains are ‘slavery and trafficking free’. This follows a report from the Salvation Army which shows a 62% rise in victims of human trafficking seeking support from the charity.
The new Bill will mean that big businesses will have to release an annual public statement detailing the actions they have taken to ensure their supply chains are free from slavery and trafficking. These requirements will only apply to businesses over a certain size, with statutory guidance on this still to be provided. However, we do know that the bill will be applicable to entities regardless of the nature of their business or the products it supplies.