Forced Labour: Malaysia

Home Office written question – answered on 8th July 2021.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Newcastle University study on forced labour in the Malaysian medical glove industry, published on 1 July 2021.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government is committed to working with public and private sector organisations to address the risks of modern slavery in supply chains. It welcomes research on these issues and is carefully considering the findings from the Newcastle University study. The research itself was supported by the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre, a centre funded by the Government specifically to transform the evidence base underpinning our policy and operational response to modern slavery.

Government is harnessing its spending power to ensure exploitative businesses do not take a share of the £81 billion that central government spends on goods and services each year. On 26 March 2020, we became the first country to publish a Government Modern Slavery Statement setting out the steps we have taken to prevent modern slavery and incentivise responsible business conduct in our supply chains. We have launched the Modern Slavery Assessment Tool and directly worked with over 500 suppliers on implementing effective modern slavery due diligence. More than 1,800 organisations have completed the assessment since March 2019.

The Home Office also works across Government to develop best-practice to prevent modern slavery in public sector procurement. With support from DHSC and NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office commissioned the ethical trade consultancy, Impactt, to develop tailored guidance for buyers and suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on best practice to prevent modern slavery in supply chains. As part of this project, Impactt delivered training workshops with PPE manufacturers and resellers to support them in implementing the guidance. In addition, the Government has recently launched e-learning to support public sector commercial staff to better identify and mitigate modern slavery risks in contracts.

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