Modern Slavery is a crime which results in an abhorrent abuse of human rights. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 referred to as the “Act” created offences of slavery, servitude and financial or compulsory labour
Definitions of Modern Slavery
Slavery, in accordance with the 1926 Slavery Convention, is the status or condition of a person over whom all or any of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised. Since legal ownership of a person is not possible, the key element of slavery is the behaviour on the part of the offender as if he or she did own the person, which deprives the victim of their freedom.
Servitude in the obligation to provide services that is imposed by the use of coercion and includes the obligation of a “Serf” to live on another person’s property and the impossibility of changing his or her condition.
Forced or Compulsory labour
This is defined in international labour law by the International Labour Organisations (ILO) Forced Labour Convention 29 and Protocol. It involves coercion, either direct threats of violence or more subtle forms of compulsion. The key elements are that, work or service is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered him/herself voluntarily.
An offence of human trafficking requires that a person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person with a view to that person being exploited. The offence can be committed even where the victim consents to travel. This reflects the fact that a victim may be deceived by the promise of a better life or job, or may be a child who is influenced to travel by an adult. In addition, the exploitation of potential victim does not need to have taken place for the offence to be committed. It means that the arranging or facilitating of the movement of the individual was with a view of exploiting them for sexual exploitation or non- sexual exploitation.
This is defined by the ILO as children under 12 years working in any economic activity, those aged 12-14 engaged in more than light work and all children engaged in the worst forms of child labour.
The transparency in supply chains provision within the Act seeks to address the role of businesses, across all sectors preventing Modern Slavery in their supply chains and organisations. The following guidance sets out how businesses can meet these requirements, as set out in the Act.