When UK citizens go to the polls on July 4, Labour is widely expected to win by a landslide, which will mean changes are anticipated in many sectors. What has Labour pledged to do about tackling the issue of modern slavery and supply chains?

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is the term used to describe some of the world’s worst forms of exploitation, including human trafficking, domestic servitude, child labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, sexual exploitation and more. It is estimated that as many as 40 million people are now trapped in modern slavery worldwide, more than at the peak of the transatlantic slave trade in the 1800s.  

A number of countries have enacted tough legislation to combat modern slavery in the corporate world by increasing transparency in companies’ supply chains.

Modern slavery acts in the UK, EU, US, and other countries around the world require large companies to publicly disclose information about their efforts to eradicate human trafficking and slavery within their supply chains. These statements must include a report of the steps taken during the past financial year to ensure that these human rights violations are not taking place in any part of the business or its trading partners. It is expected that a growing number of countries will adopt similar legislation in the future. 

What is the UK’s Modern Slavery Act?

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was brought in by the Coalition Government in 2013 under the then Home Secretary Theresa May. 

The Act consolidates existing offences of slavery and trafficking and introduces new civil penalties for those involved and provides mechanisms for seizure of assets. It also establishes an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner as well as the reporting requirement for large companies.

What is CSRD and how does it impact non-EU companies?

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is EU legislation that requires all large and listed companies to publish regular reports on the social and environmental risks they face, and on how their activities impact people and the environment. It aims to help investors, consumers, policymakers and other stakeholders evaluate non-financial performance and encourage a more responsible approach to business.

It also impacts non-EU companies, called third-country companies, that have substantial activity in the EU. Businesses need to prepare now as successful reporting will require a holistic approach that involves the entire organisation.

What has Labour said about modern slavery?

Labour will commit to embedding modern slavery protections and tackling human rights and labour abuses in both public and private supply chains with CSRD-style due diligence rules. They will mandate the use of human rights protection clauses to tackle modern slavery in supply chains.

Compliance and the UK General Election – Special Webinar

Every sector could be impacted and every area of compliance is likely to be reviewed by the next government. From overhauls of financial services regulation, reviews of data protection law, closer alignment with EU regulations and an expansion of health and safety protections, the next parliament will see compliance at the centre of the regulatory agenda.

With everything from whistleblowing reform to overhauls of corporate governance, new employment rights like menopause leave and expanded equal pay rules, alongside crackdowns on tax evasion and expansion of the money laundering regulations, organisations large and small should prepare for the outcome of the general election.

This webinar will cover:

  • What the main parties are pledging on key compliance areas
  • Potential changes to legislation including the Equality Act, sexual harassment and employment rights
  • Expected legislation on AML, bribery, sanctions, fraud and economic crime
  • Possible expansion of regulations around GDPR, AI and health and safety
  • Preparing your organisation for future regulatory changes and new requirements