Mo Farah and Modern Slavery

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On the back of Mo Farah’s recent documentary with the BBC, in which he revealed that he was trafficked into the UK when he was a child, the spotlight has again been cast on businesses and their obligations in the prevention of modern slavery.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act) was introduced in an attempt to combat modern slavery. Modern slavery includes human trafficking, prostitution, forced marriage, forced labour or bonded labour.

It covers a variety of areas, but there are specific requirements placed on certain businesses.

Application to businesses

In order for the provisions of the Act to apply to a business, the business needs to meet all four of the following criteria:

  • being commercial in nature
  • has a global turnover of over £36 million
  • carries on a business, or part of a business, in any part of the United Kingdom
  • supplies goods or services.

The requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

If a business falls within the definition of the above, the business must publish a ‘slavery and human trafficking statement’ (Statement) for each financial year.

It is a requirement under the Act that all businesses who are required to publish a Statement must disclose steps the business has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within their business/supply chains. If a business has not taken any steps, then a Statement must still be published and confirm the business has not taken any steps.

The Home Office has set out six areas in which a Statement may cover. It is important to note that it is not a requirement these areas are covered, but the guidance may prove useful for businesses when they produce their Statements. The areas are as follows:

  1. business organisation, structure, and supply chains
  2. policies that the business has in relation to modern slavery
  3. due diligence
  4. risk assessment the business has carried out
  5. performance indicators
  6. training the business has undertaken.

Benefits of publishing a statement

Whilst the Act imposes obligations on businesses, there are benefits of publishing a Statement even for those who are not caught by the act, such as:

  1. Deal with issues – if, having reviewed the business or its supply chains concerns or issues are found, businesses can act proactively in dealing with them.
  2. Positive PR –the Act allows the Government to apply for an injunction to force businesses to produce a Statement. This may bring bad PR and damage businesses’ reputation with its customers. On the other hand, having a Statement can show customers what steps the business is taking to minimise the risks of modern slavery.
  3. Securing further business – businesses who are required to comply with the Act are likely to scrutinise their smaller suppliers. Therefore, by demonstrating they are complying with the Act it can help smaller businesses or suppliers to secure contracts, and this can be a requirement to win certain contracts.
  4. More efficient supply chains – in order to comply with the Act businesses are required to have a greater understanding of the practices of their suppliers. By taking a greater interest in the conduct of their suppliers, it provides opportunities for businesses to identify supply chain inefficiencies.

Contact our employment law solicitors today

If you have any questions regarding your business and its obligations under the Modern Slavery Act, please get in touch with our specialist Employment Law team through this website or by calling 0330 191 4836.

Our partners at Ashtons HR Consulting are also on hand to assist you.


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