Modern slavery and human trafficking statement

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the act) consolidates various offences relating to human trafficking and slavery. Broadly speaking this means that:

  • ‘slavery’ is where ownership is exercised over a person;
  • ‘servitude’ involves coercion to oblige a person to provide services;
  • ‘forced and compulsory labour’ is where a person works or provides services on a non-voluntary basis under the threat of a penalty;
  • ‘human trafficking’ involves arranging or facilitating the travel of a person with a view to exploiting them.

Section 52 of the act imposes a duty on public authorities, including district councils, to notify the Secretary of State of suspected victims of slavery or human trafficking.

Section 54 of the act imposes a legal duty on commercial organisations, which supply goods and/or services from or to the UK and have a global turnover of more than £36 million, to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement each financial year.

The council engages in commercial activities by providing services (both statutory and discretionary). Its annual turnover is in excess of £36 million. Whilst the act does not state that local authorities specifically are included in those organisations legally required to publish a statement, the council has elected to do so as a matter of good practice. The council is keen to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking and as a large scale local employer and provider of services, it is seen as imperative that the authority makes its position of zero tolerance in respect of slavery and trafficking clear and unequivocal.