The UK has become the first country to publish a government modern slavery statement, which sets out how the government is tackling the crime in its supply chains.
The statement, which is published to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, outlines action being taken to ensure that taxpayers’ money does not line the pockets of criminals who exploit vulnerable workers.
Thousands of businesses are currently required to publish annual modern slavery statements under the Act.
To lead the way for the public sector, the UK government has now published its statement which assesses the risk of modern slavery across around £50 billion of its annual spending. Individual ministerial departments will publish their modern slavery statements from 2020/21.
The government has also consulted on strengthening the requirement for large businesses to publish their modern slavery statements – including extending this to public bodies – and has committed to developing a registry for modern slavery statements.
Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said:
As we acknowledge everything this government has achieved for victims of modern slavery over the last five years, I am proud that we are taking this unprecedented step to show how we are tackling slavery during procurement.
We are committed to targeting perpetrators and safeguarding victims of this horrific crime, both domestically and globally.