Modern Slavery Act …why it’s important and what it means for Commercial organisations.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (‘the Act’) was bought in to tackle the issue of human trafficking and slavery here in the UK. Experts are warning commercial organisations to remember their responsibility as business owners to ensure this isn’t occurring in their own business or supply chain.

The Act requires commercial organisations with a turnover of £36million or more operating in the UK or incorporated in the UK to produce annual statements at the end of each financial year. These statements must outline the steps these organisations are taking to ensure that human trafficking and slavery is not part of their supply chain or their business. The first Annual statement is due for organisations whose financial year ends on or after 31st March 2016.

Section 54 of the Act requires the organisation to publish statements outlining the steps the business has taken to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking. The act provides a list of recommended information for organisations to include in their statements that demonstrate whether they have taken active steps towards prevention.

The recommended list of information, includes the organisations structure, any policies it has to prevent slavery and human trafficking, the steps it’s taken to ensure areas of risk are managed properly to prevent slavery and human trafficking and training being made available for employees.

As well as this the statement must be available online. Clear links must be presented so it can be easily accessed. The Act also advises that a link to the statement must be clearly mentioned somewhere on the home page.

Experts are warning organisations affected to seek legal advice if they are unsure about how the Act affects them. These Businesses must produce their statements within 6 months from the end of the financial year. Businesses that are affected by the new rules must comply or may face civil proceedings.

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