Northern Ireland increases transparency on modern slavery

Recently, Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long published two consultation documents on measures to eliminate modern slavery in the supply chains of public and commercial sector organizations. The proposed legislative changes would mandate affected businesses to publish a modern slavery statement and outline the steps they have taken to ensure slavery and human trafficking do not occur in any part of their supply chain or own operations.

With the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, the UK became the first country to require companies to publicly report on the steps they are taking to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains and operations. In July 2019, the UK government launched a consultation on measures to strengthen these legislative arrangements and has now published its proposals for taking this work further in 2021.

The proposed changes in Northern Ireland would apply to commercial businesses with a turnover of £36 million (€42 million, $50 million) or more and will impact UK regulations, which the government consulted on from July to September 2019.

Under the proposed amendment, the areas that modern slavery statements must cover will be required by law. Organizations that have not taken action in certain areas must clearly state this in their modern slavery statement. In addition, the proposed legislative changes would establish a new government-run reporting service, and enforcement options, including fines, are being considered, consistent with the development of a single enforcement body.

Learn more here.