Ending Exploitation in Supermarket Supply Chains

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:21 pm on 18th October 2018.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 12:21 pm, 18th October 2018

If we can get 100% on gender pay gap reporting, we ought to do an awful lot better on modern slavery reporting.

The Home Office review of the Modern Slavery Act is welcome, and I hope it will result in much-needed measures to strengthen it and its implementation. I welcome the appointment as chairs of Mrs Miller and my right hon. Friend Frank Field, who unfortunately has had to go back to his constituency, where “Songs of Praise” is being recorded, otherwise he would be here.

If the Government want to lead on this issue internationally, a law of due diligence, whereby companies need to demonstrate they are actively seeking to end slavery in supply chains, would be a good place to start. A wider definition of supply chain liability is needed, so that real or feigned ignorance is not a justifiable excuse when instances of slavery are revealed. We also need better support for victims. I very much support Lord McColl of Dulwich’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, which would extend the proposed 45 days of additional support to 12 months. We can see how victims of slavery are terrified of coming forward because of the risk of deportation.