Norton Rose Fulbright on 21st May published a briefing which says in its introduction that, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), at any given time an estimated 40.3 million people globally are in modern slavery, which includes 24.9 million in forced labour.  The global shipping industry has been identified as being particularly susceptible to the risk of modern slavery given seafarers are often from nations with human rights, labour rights and corruption challenges.  The fragmentation of regulatory oversight among flag states, and practical limitations on effective enforcement of basic conditions on board vessels, exacerbate the problem.  After looking at the Modern Slavery Act and its requirements in the UK, the briefing considers what are the modern slavery risks for shipping and what shipping companies can do to prepare themselves (and avoid being implicated).  The article concludes that the burden of increased regulation may also create competitive advantage for compliant operators in some trades and markets.  On the whole, it says, history suggests that the pace of change will be uneven and slow.  Nevertheless, it is clear that the power of public scrutiny has already spurred the relatively rapid rise of modern slavery, as a business risk for the shipping industry.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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