'UK is a guiding light’ in addressing modern slavery but more MUST be done warns expert

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The interim executive director of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and law professor, Meg Roggensack has insisted that governments across the globe need to do much more in eradicating modern slavery. Following the release of a report from ICAR and Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Ms Roggensack insisted that companies’ compliance with modern slavery laws has been inadequate while government enforcement measures have also been too weak. While the 2015 Modern Slavery Act was a massive step in the right direction, she insisted that the scale of the problem is only just starting to be realised. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk Ms Roggensack said: “The UK’s law was a great start in addressing the problem but a lot more still needs to be done.

“But it’s a really difficult challenge.

“Modern slavery is a problem that is endemic in the global supply chain today and it pervades every aspect of modern commerce.

“This means that government must take steps to stop it through things like slavery acts but also support it with additional guidance and where possible information for activists.”

READ MORE: Anti-slavery laws to tackle dealers

Ms Roggensack’s report comes as data from the National Crime Agency released last month showed the number of modern slavery cases involving UK children had risen from 676 in 2017 to 1,421 in 2018.

While the increase in numbers might suggest a failure in trying to stop the problem, Ms Roggensack insisted that although in the last 10 years the numbers have gone up, this is also down to the rising awareness of the problem of slavery.

Introduced in 2015 the Modern Slavery Act was introduced to help rid the world of the “barbaric evil of modern slavery” by Theresa May.

Although Ms Roggensack praised the law for its broad scope in understanding the issue, she admitted that governments are dealing with a problem that has many layers and required “a multi-agency approach” in order to deal with it. 

READ MORE: Belgian government accused of financing weapons and human trafficking 

Moreover, with companies looking abroad for cheaper operation costs, the biggest challenge is “that global supply chains were created to identify environments that were low cost”.

Secondly, with some areas such as human trafficking providing to be lucrative for the criminal underworld, agencies are coming up against a problem that often has more funding than they do.

Ms Roggensack concluded: “The UK’s law has moved the goalpost of how we view the problem.

“But governments need to work together and help countries who laws are weak if we are to solve the issue.”

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