CORE and 35 other organisations, including NGOs Anti-Slavery International, Unicef and Oxfam, Supermarkets Tesco and the Co-op, and Unions the TUC and Unison have signed a joint statement published by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner calling on the Government to establish a central modern slavery registry.
Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act requires businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual statement explaining what, if anything, they are doing to address slavery and trafficking within their business and supply chains. Whilst some businesses are showing leadership, compliance with the requirement has been patchy. It is time for this to change. A central registry is key to achieving this.
It is our opinion that by mandating a central state-supported filing point for modern slavery statements, such a registry will facilitate improved compliance. The omission of a central repository from the UK’s Modern Slavery Act led to the development of two independent, non-government funded registries. Both are identifying and collecting Section 54 statements. However, we consider that a single publicly-owned central registry is preferable for three reasons.
Firstly, it will reduce business confusion about where to file modern slavery statements; secondly, providing businesses with a single, state-owned repository in which to file statements sends a clear signal to the private sector that Section 54 is a mandatory legal requirement, and; thirdly, it will enable other stakeholders – such as investors, consumers, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and contracting companies or local authorities –to quickly and easily identify whether a particular company has complied with the Act and to assess what substantive action they are taking to protect their business from slavery, instead of having to look at each company’s individual website for this information.
You can read the full statement here.