Exactly three years after the passage of the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act, KnowTheChain reviewed how more than 100 companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector are responding to the law. We found that of the 102 companies analyzed for our latest report, only 14 meet the minimum compliance requirements.
The UK’s Modern Slavery Act is the most far-reaching global legislation on forced labor and human trafficking currently in effect. Most notably, it is the first piece of legislation that requires not only annual reporting on the steps taken to address modern slavery in a company’s operations and supply chains, but also board approval and a director’s signature on the company’s public statement – ensuring that senior management, as well as boards, pay attention to the issue of forced labor.
Due to the complex production process of electronics, ICT supply chains are at high risk of forced labor. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in supply chains as many are recruited outside their country of origin, making them susceptible to excessive or illicit recruitment fees.
To understand to what extent the ICT sector is aware of and responding to this legislation, we analyzed 102 companies from Asia, Europe, and the United States that are required to report under the Modern Slavery Act, assessing compliance and evaluating company public statements against KnowTheChain’s updated benchmark methodology. Among the findings, this report shows that while most of the largest global ICT companies analyzed publish the required statements on their response to address modern slavery, only 18% (14 out of 79) meet the minimum compliance requirements. Furthermore, few document their response to sector-specific risks, such as the exploitation of migrant workers.
This report precedes KnowTheChain’s 2018 ICT benchmark, which will further evaluate how 40 companies in this high-risk sector are addressing the risk of forced labor in their global supply chains.