Firms warned to comply with new slavery laws

ANOTHER major law firm is warning firms of the importance of complying with new slavery legislation.
Last month DLA Piper told Project Scotland what steps organisations must take to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not occurring within their business or in their supply chains.

Claire Mills

Now Scottish law firm bto solicitors has warned of the “uncomfortable truth” that modern slavery is happening in the UK.
Businesses that supply goods and services and have an annual turnover in excess of £36 million will need to produce a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement for each financial year to comply with the Transparency in Supply Chains provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
bto said businesses that fall into this category with a financial year end of 31 March 2016 will be the first required to publish such a statement.
The Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement must be published on the organisation’s website and be accessible via a “prominent link” on the homepage.
Claire Mills, associate at bto solicitors, said,  “Whilst we would all hope that the organisations we work for and with are not committing any of these abhorrent crimes, the uncomfortable truth is that modern slavery is happening in the UK.  In particular, labour exploitation in the construction sector was identified by the National Crime Agency as one of the highest areas reported by victims in 2013.
“It is intended that the requirement to produce a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement will help drive up standards, and the risk of naming and shaming organisations who take no steps will encourage businesses to change their policies and practices.
“Whilst the legal requirement to produce a statement is fairly benign, if an organisation is exposed as not taking any steps to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its supply chains, reputational damage could be immeasurable.”