31 July 2015

Ahead of the Modern Slavery Act entering into force on Friday 31 July, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced increased co-operation with Vietnam aimed at tackling human trafficking. Estimates suggest that in 2013 there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK.

Together with Albania, Nigeria, Romania and the UK, Vietnam is among the top five source countries for victims of modern slavery.

Later this year, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, will lead a fact-finding mission to Vietnam to start talks on a formal Memorandum of Understanding for enhanced co-operation between the UK and Vietnam.

The UK will offer support for trafficking victims returned to Vietnam, including funding an additional shelter for survivors of trafficking, particularly women and children and providing greater assistance for resource centres that provide information aimed at preventing people being trafficked in the first place.

The announcement of greater co-operation with Vietnam to tackle the modern slavery trade comes shortly before a raft of new measures enshrined in the Modern Slavery Act enters into force on 31 July.

Under the Act, companies with a turnover of £36 million or more will have to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement.

The requirement will apply to all large companies who do business in the UK and who have supply chains elsewhere in the world.

Companies will have to describe the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their own business or in any of their supply chains — or disclose that they have taken no such steps.

Modern slavery is often international organised crime that can only be combated through strong partnerships between source, transit and destination countries, said Kevin Hyland.