“Duty of disclosure” to help stamp out appalling working conditions

Large companies will be made to disclose the steps they have taken to ensure their supply chains are slavery free, the Home Office has announced.

Karen Bradley, minister for modern slavery and organised crime, said the requirement would be introduced as part of the Modern Slavery Bill, currently working its way through Parliament.

The Government is taking action following a number of scandals about workers being made to work for no money, beaten or threatened with violence.

Earlier this year, the Guardian revealed the appalling conditions on fishing boats in Thailand, whose prawns were widely available in UK supermarkets.

Ms Bradley said: “We all have a responsibility to stamp out this evil trade and this world-leading measure calls on businesses to play their part. There are already many companies taking a lead and taking action.

“Greater transparency will give customers, campaigners and shareholders the information they need to hold all big businesses to account while also supporting companies to do the right thing.”

The duty of disclosure, modelled on a system already in force in California, will apply to businesses regardless of what goods or services they provide.

MPs are at present trying to agree about how large a company would need to be to have to abide by the new requirements.

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