The government has published the 2019 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery. The report provides data on how the UK is responding to the challenge of modern slavery as well as information on the processes it has adopted in meeting this challenge. Data highlights include:
5,059 offences of modern slavery were recorded in 2018. This was a 49% increase from the 3,393 recorded offences in 2017.
377 slavery and trafficking offences, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015), were prosecuted in the magistrates' court in 2018. This was down from the 444 such offences prosecuted in 2017.
Of the 377 slavery and trafficking offences prosecuted in the magistrates' court in 2018 under the MSA 2015, 106 ended in convictions. In 2017 the 444 offences prosecuted resulted in 115 convictions.
The number of individual defendants prosecuted for offences under the MSA 2015 in 2018 was 162. In 2017 the total number of defendants was 206.
The value of asset recovery offences associated with modern slavery over the period 2018/19 was £4,656,179.69, which was down from the 2017/18 total of £7,966,458.80.
The restatement of the government's commitment to enhancing the obligations associated with supply chain transparency is not unexpected but clearly the detail of the legislative changes has yet to be announced. It is only when such details are known that companies will be able to audit and manage their supply chains appropriately in order to meet the necessary legislative obligations.