Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Corporation

Author:Eliah English
Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
and the Corporation
Eliah English
This article will examine the relationship
between modern slavery in the fashion
industry’s global supply chains and section
54 of The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (s. 54
MSA 2015). The aim is to demonstrate that
corporate social responsibility (CSR) and
accompanying transparency legislation is
not the most effective form of legislation if
the government truly wishes to ‘establish
Britain as a world leader in the fight against
modern slavery’. The first section of this
article frames the issue of modern slavery
within the fashion industry. The second
Section discusses reflexive law theory and
transparency legislation with regard to s. 54
of the MSA and the Guiding Principles on
Business and Human Rights (UNGP).
Section III examines the relationship
between the corporation and CSR to
illustrate why CSR is an ineffective
mechanism for combating modern slavery in
the fashion industry’s global supply chains.
The final section argues for corporate
88 SLJ 6(1)
criminal liability for human rights violations
in global supply chains, suggesting the
Bribery Act 2010 as an alternative and more
effective model. This article hopes to expose
CSR and reflexive law, not as law, but as
neo-liberal policy making. By demonstrating
that CSR is ineffective in this battle, this
article aims to illustrate how it is equally
ineffective in regard to all other corporate
externalities; environmental, social, and
ethical.
Introduction
This work will examine the relationship between modern
slavery in the fashion industry’s global supply chains and
section 54 of The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (s. 54 MSA 2015).
The aim is to demonstrate that corporate social responsibility
(CSR) and accompanying transparency legislation is not the
most effective form of legislation if the government truly
wishes to ‘establish Britain as a world leader in the fight
against modern slavery’.
1
The first Section of this Article
frames the issue of modern slavery within the fashion
industry. The second Section discusses reflexive law theory
1
Baroness Butler-Sloss, Rt Hon Frank Field, and Rt Hon Sir John
Randall, 'Report of The Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review'
(The Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review 2013).
Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 89
and transparency legislation with regard to s. 54 of the MSA
and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
(UNGP). Section III examines the relationship between the
corporation and CSR to illustrate why CSR is an ineffective
mechanism for combating modern slavery in the fashion
industry’s global supply chains. The final Section argues for
corporate criminal liability for human rights violations in
global supply chains, suggesting the Bribery Act 2010 as an
alternative and more effective model. This Article hopes to
expose CSR and reflexive law, not as law, but as neo-liberal
policy making. By demonstrating that CSR is ineffective in this
battle, this Article aims to illustrate how it is equally ineffective
in regard to all other corporate externalities; environmental,
social, and ethical.
I. The Fashion Industry
Although slavery was abolished in the UK almost 200 years
ago,
2
it remains a troublingly common practice. Globally, the
International Labour Organisation estimates that 21 million
people are victims of modern slavery and forced labour,
3
generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits every
2
Genevieve LeBaron and Andreas Rühmkorf, 'The Domestic
Politics of Corporate Accountability Legislation: Struggles Over
The 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act' [2017] Socio-Economic
Review, 1.
3
Roel Nieuwenkamp, 'Tackling Modern Slavery in Global
Supply Chains' (OECD Insights Blog, 2016)
in-
global-supply-chains/> accessed 1 January 2018.

To continue reading

Request your trial