Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner response: UK Government announces business measures over Xinjiang human rights abuses


The Government has today (12 January 2021) announced new measures to help ensure that British organisations are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. Measures include the introduction of financial penalties for businesses that do not comply with the Modern Slavery Act. 


The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, said:


“I welcome the Government’s new measures to combat human rights abuses in Xinjiang. I have long argued that businesses need to be held to account for their responsibility to comply with the Modern Slavery Act and to demonstrate action they have taken to combat modern slavery and exploitation in their supply chains.

But these powers must be used. The Modern Slavery Act already contains powers under Section 54 for the Home Secretary to issue an injunction against non-compliant businesses and force them to write a Modern Slavery Statement. Although the Act was introduced over five years ago, this has never happened.

The threat of financial penalties is not enough. It is unacceptable that some 25 million people are subjected to forced labour globally including in Xinjiang. These measures must be enforced if they are to have real impact on the ground and reduce exploitation in supply chains.”




Read the Government’s announcement here.