The government has pledged to work with UK businesses to eradicate slavery practices from their supply chains, following publication of the Modern Slavery Bill yesterday (June 10).
Home secretary Theresa May, who introduced the bill to parliament, said the solution to modern slavery required a “tireless and coordinated effort” across government and all communities, including the business community.
But the government said it did not want to place additional burdens on business given the complexity of the supply chain, particularly where it involves links with businesses overseas so the influence of UK-based companies is diminished.
Instead, it will work with industry leaders to raise awareness of slavery among their workforces and sub-contractors, and develop an evidence base on best practice.
Representatives from the fashion and retail industries, including John Lewis and Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods, will attend a roundtable hosted by the Home Office today (Wednesday) to assess the most effective way forward.
A spokeswoman for the Ethical Trading Initiative, one of the organisations set to attend the roundtable, said: “We welcomed the bill and we’re pleased to see the UK taking leadership on this issue.
“The risks are very high in the supply chain and companies – including all those involved in the supply chain – have a role to play in tackling these issues.”