Modern slavery and human trafficking
Modern slavery and human trafficking

The following Corporate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Modern slavery reporting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • Slavery and human trafficking statement
  • Who is required to comply?
  • Writing a slavery and human trafficking statement
  • Child labour
  • Law Society guidance on MSA 2015
  • Approving the statement
  • Publishing the statement
  • Compliance illustrations
  • More...

Modern slavery and human trafficking

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.

Section 54 requires certain firms to produce and publish a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year of the organisation.

The government has published guidance (the Guidance) which makes it clear that organisations should seek to publish their statement as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of their financial year, ideally no later than six months after the organisation’s financial year end.

Therefore a firm with a financial year end of 31 March 2021 is effectively required to have published a statement by 30 September 2021.

Organisations may wish to publish these statements at the same time as they publish other annual accounts. Aside from the regulatory requirements, organisations should anticipate commercial pressure from a wide variety of stakeholders and third parties to comply with the provisions.

Modern slavery reporting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

In April 2020 the government published additional guidance in relation to modern slavery reporting during the pandemic.

The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic may mean that some businesses will not be able to publish their statement within the usual timeframe (for example if they have reduced staff capacity). Businesses which need to delay the publication of their modern slavery statement by up to 6 months due to coronavirus-related pressures will not be penalised.

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