2020 April 24

Electronics Watch highlighted in UK Government Modern Slavery Statement

The much awaited UK Government's Modern Slavery Statement published recently highlights the work they are doing with Electronics Watch to tackle modern slavery in their ICT hardware and electronics supply chains.

The UK Government spent around £6.5 billion on ICT (including services and software) in 2018/19. The statement covers ministerial departments, HMRC, non-ministerial public bodies and executive agencies where spend is reported centrally. Their procurement of ICT hardware is complex, and there is "limited visibility of the supply chains... [with] multiple levels of sub-contracting for the raw material extraction, component manufacturing, assembly and logistics", the statement affirms.

ICT hardware and electronics is one of the two areas with "the most severe, salient and strategic risks" of modern slavery across departments. The Government outlines its collaboration with Electronics Watch as part of its goal to uncover exploitation and develop sustainable solutions in these areas.

The statement cites cases where Electronics Watch engagement has helped drive remediation in government supply chains, including reimbursement of recruitment fees and related costs; ensuring workers have full access to their identification documents; and ensuring overtime is only undertaken on a voluntary basis.