An end to forced labour?
Two years on, what has been the impact of the Modern Slavery Act? Colleen Theron reports
New global slavery statistics released in September 2017 state that an estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016. The report calculates that, of 24.9 million victims of forced labour, 16 million are in the private economy, 4.8 million are in forced sexual exploitation and 4.1 million are in state-sponsored forced labour, including mandatory military conscription and agricultural work. Women and girls accounted for 71% or 29 million of all the victims in 2016.
Modern slavery is prevalent in virtually every sector across the globe. In the past few years, investigations into commodities tainted by slavery have included prawns from Thailand, debt bondage and forced labour in the global electronics industry and claims of the trafficking of migrant workers into the Scottish and Irish fishing industries.
The most recent media reports highlight the issue of child labour and debt bondage as a form of slavery in granite. Habitat and John Lewis, as a result of the report and pending further investigation, made a decision to remove black/star galaxy granite from sale.
In a bid to combat, or at least recognise and tackle the scale of the problem, the UK introduced the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which is the first piece of legislation to punish anyone ...