Business is vital in combating modern-day slavery

Published in Accounting and Business

Modern slavery is happening everywhere - and businesses with appropriate governance structures are part of the battle against it. Sally Percy reports

Slavery is not legal anywhere, yet today over 20 million people across the world are effectively slaves, according to the International Labour Organisation. In fact, this could be a conservative estimate. Other organisations put the figure even higher – the Global Slavery Index 2016 estimates 45.8 million.

Governments across the world have taken action to tackle modern slavery, with 124 having criminalised human trafficking in line with the UN Trafficking Protocol. In Europe, the UK is seen as a leader in addressing the problem thanks to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which is the first legislation of its kind on the continent. It was drafted after the issue attracted the attention of then home secretary Theresa May.

The act gives greater powers to law enforcers to fight modern slavery, ensures that perpetrators receive suitably severe punishments (including life sentences), provides support and protection for victims, and introduces an independent anti-slavery commissioner to improve the response to the issue.

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