Government chiefs must avoid “hypocrisy” and also review their own policies to help combat modern slavery, warns a leading researcher from the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute as a major new review of Parliamentary legislation is published.
Dr Alicia Kidd has welcomed a new review of the Modern Slavery Act that says Government ministers “must act quickly” to combat a growing global crisis.
The Wilberforce Institute conducts world-leading research to advance the end of slavery and exploitation around the globe and says that, while the review makes some valuable recommendations to ensure businesses combat slavery, Government ministers must go further and revisit their own policies that create the “perfect conditions” for modern slavery to flourish.
The review comes four years after the Government’s groundbreaking anti-slavery legislation was introduced. It makes 80 recommendations to sharpen the law, punish businesses that fail to comply, improve support and compensation for victims and give more freedom to the new anti-slavery commissioner.
In this new video, Dr Kidd highlights the scale of the problem by pointing out 40% of businesses still aren’t complying with the law but no-one has been penalized in the past four years.
She highlights significant recommendations that include forcing companies to make key steps to combat slavery in the supply chain and making them report on any actions taken. She also welcomes the move to make board members accountable, extending the laws to cover public bodies and making failure to comply an offence.
Another key measure is to make companies that fail to comply ineligible for public contracts.
Dr Kidd adds: “The attention on business in this report should be welcomed and we must do more to make sure all companies comply. However, it would be hypocritical of the Government if it calls on businesses to review their own practices without looking at their own policies too.
“A key example is the current asylum policy which creates the perfect conditions for modern slavery to thrive.”
Dr Alicia Kidd has written a piece for The Conversation on how the UK asylum system is fuelling modern slaverywith fellow Wilberforce Institute co-authors Dr Elizabeth Faulkner and Dr Lorena Arocha.