Announcing the Modern Slavery Registry

Aslak Hellesøy
May 10, 2017 · 2 min read

Modern slavery is everywhere — in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings we visit.

The biggest corporations in the world indirectly employ tens of millions of slaves to produce their goods and services, for their own and your benefit.

Section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act requires commercial organisations that operate in the UK and have an annual turnover above £36m to produce a statement setting out the steps they are taking to address and prevent the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

This is a step in the right direction, but the UK government is not monitoring these statements or holding the companies to account. That task has been left to civil society.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) has been collecting and monitoring thousands of these statements on a central registry for over a year on its main website. They decided to revamp and improve the registry.

The new Modern Slavery Registry which I built pro bono in my spare time for the BHRRC has launched today!

It is estimated that 12,000–17,000 companies are required to publish statements under the UK Modern Slavery Act. The registry currently lists about 1,900 statements, which have been found using a manual, time-consuming process by a single person.

How you can help

Check if your employer’s statement is already in the registry. If it isn’t you can submit a link to the published statement. Once your submission is verified by the registry team it will show up in the registry.

What’s ahead

More and more countries are putting in place legislation that forces companies to disclose what they are doing to identify and remove modern slavery from their supply chains.

I think it would be great if all these statements could be stored in the same registry.

The source code for the registry (written in Ruby on Rails) could be open-sourced so that other governments and organisations can collaborate on building a world-class registry.

There are many interesting new features to build into the registry, such as archiving of old statements, automatic analysis of statements, alerting when a statement changes or disappears, and more.

If you have feedback about the registry or ideas about how it can be improved, contact the modern slavery registry team.

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