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The Modern Slavery Act 2015 will require large commercial organisations, which are carrying on any part of their business in the UK with a global turnover of £36 million or more, to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement in each financial year. This requirement is expected to come into effect in October 2015.

The organisation must set out in the statement the steps it has taken that year to ensure that slavery or human trafficking is not happening within its business or supply chains, or state that it has not taken any such steps.

The Government considers that large commercial organisations have the influence and buying power to effect change in their supply chains to tackle the issue of modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The desired effect of the statement is to provide transparency to consumers, investors and members of the public about the steps, or lack thereof, that organisations are taking to eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their businesses and supply chains. It is considered that this transparency and public scrutiny will put commercial pressure on organisations to take action, due to the reputational damage and competitive disadvantage if they do not.

It is expected that this reporting requirement will encourage greater due diligence on and management of suppliers and will be particularly pertinent for organisations in sectors identified as suffering from modern slavery issues, such as the clothing, textiles and construction sectors.

Commercial organisations which fail to produce a statement as required under this Act may face enforcement proceedings by the Secretary of State.