The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 Three Years On

Virginia Mantouvalou


This article provides a critical assessment of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) three years after its enactment. It puts forward the following claims: first, that while criminalisation of individuals who engage in severe labour exploitation is welcome, the legislation has failed to increase prosecutions and to provide adequate remedies to victims; second, that heavy reliance on criminal law for the regulation of severe labour exploitation is insufficient, because the broader political and legislative context suggests that there is no political will to address structural factors, including legal structures, that create vulnerability to exploitation; and third, that the MSA is too weak in tackling modern slavery by businesses in their supply chains, as existing evidence from business responses to the MSA indicates. The article concludes that despite the passing of the Act, there is much scope for improvement in measures for eliminating labour exploitation, even with regard to its most severe forms.

Published November 2018
Frequency Bi-Monthly
Volume 81
Issue 6
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Online ISSN 1468-2230