I have read on countless occasions about the ceaseless fight to bring about the end of the shameful Transatlantic Slave Trade. But in reality slavery was not ended. It simply mutated and in 2016 we find ourselves living in a world where there are over an estimated 30 million people in modern slavery, many undisclosed. Modern slavery disclosure is an essential element of the global combat against modern slavery.
Business and Human Right Resource Centre published “Ending impunity, securing justice”: Report calls for strategic litigation to combat modern slavery where Martina E. Vandenberg and Nick Grono in their article state that strategic litigation broke the back of the British Slave Trade. Our goal is to establish a vibrant network of human rights lawyers, civil rights litigators, non-governmental organisations, investigative journalists, committed donors and other partners. There is no arguing with this but what about individuals?
Tackling modern day slavery requires not just strategic litigation but a strategic global wide plan. An example of this is Sustaining Momentum with Bold Leadership especially within the predicted number 1 trend that will be key to businesses in 2016-Supply Chains. Bold leadership comes in many forms and the introduction of the MSA 2015 can be evidence to such bold leadership. But this is not enough. We need more. We cannot simply rely on governments, lawyers and NGO’s. Everyone has a responsibility to help stop modern day slavery this is because modern day slavery infects every area of life. The only way to fight back then is a mirrored approach so that every area of life and society fights back. One such example is The Modern Slavery Garden. The Chelsea Flower Show provides a platform for the anti-slavery movement. But we can bring the focus in even smaller than this so that the consumer, the individual also realises their responsibility and acts on this. How? Well the Modern Slavery Act 2015 enables the individual to be a part of the strategic plan.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is a landmark piece of legislation that followed in the footsteps of California and its Transparency in Supply Chains Act (TISCA). View comparison table. These 2 pieces of legislation have handed consumers a hugely powerful weapon that if picked up and used can place consumers at the frontline of the modern day slavery war. The key element is found in Section 54 MSA 2015. This section just like the Californian Act requires certain businesses who fall within the threshold to make a yearly public disclosure on their website. The disclosure statement must state the steps taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their business or supply chains. A business must make a modern slavery disclosure statement. If they state they are doing nothing then alarm bells must ring. With slavery so rife in our supply chains, if a business makes no steps then it could be seen that they are simply adopting the ‘hear no evil and see no evil’ approach. This is simply not good enough. We have to be utterly transparent and pro-active in what we ALL do when it comes to fighting modern day slavery. Modern slavery disclosure is imperative. Ignorance is no longer a defence for anyone.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
What we need to do is stop turning a blind eye.
In the fight for the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and for legislation to pass what had to happen was an acknowledgement of just how evil the slave trade was. We need to do the same now. Businesses and consumers alike must recognise that a profit margins and a cheap outfit from a high street store does not justify the use of slaves in our supply chains.
With the introduction of the modern slavery disclosure requirements consumers can now have access to which company is or is not using slaves in their supply chains. This is astonishing. From this can flow a consumer led revolt against companies that insist on using slaves to make their products. People can then withdrew their hard earned cash and support from these companies. This unfortunately seems to be the only language that some businesses will understand.
- There are over 30 million slaves in the world at the present time
- The average age of a trafficking victim is just 12 years old
- It is happening in the UK
- Children make up the largest percent of victims modern slavery