In an article published by Thomas Reuters Foundation, Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton called on companies to be held to account for modern slavery in their supply chains.

"In her report on boohoo, Alison Levitt QC found evidence of unacceptable working conditions, underpayment of workers, serious health and safety violations and widespread neglect of employee’s rights in the company’s supply chain. The abuses had been going on for some years. But Levitt also concluded that there was no evidence that Boohoo broke the law.

Levitt’s findings may be correct. As the current law stands, companies do not have to report abuses in their supply chains, however egregious, nor are they liable for them. Boohoo, after all, published a modern slavery statement.

However, given the power that brands have in shaping the market it would be unfair to shift all the blame onto the suppliers. Expecting enforcement agencies to police every supply chain is also unrealistic.

While I am not arguing that all the labour abuses identified in Levitt’s report are modern slavery, I have been struck by the irrelevance of the Section 54 requirement to the debate.  But in the scramble for new solutions –such as licensing or hot goods– we must be careful not to sign up to panaceas that give business the comfort of appearing to improve, while failing to offer any genuine safeguards to a workforce"

See full article here.