A rise in their exploitation means that modern slavery risks have risen in nearly three quarters of the 28 member states of the European Union over the last year, making it the largest rise in such risk of any geographical region, according to an annual global risk study.
As key migrant entry points, five EU countries — Romania, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Bulgaria — are identified as the highest risk countries within the bloc based on the strength of their laws, the effectiveness of their enforcement and the severity of violations, says Verisk Maplecroft. Its 2nd edition of the Modern Slavery Index (MSI) assessed 198 countries finding drops in the scores of 20 countries across the EU.
Last year the publication of the first MSI revealed a laudable ranking for Britain which enacted the first legislation of its kind in Europe with the Modern Slavery Act brought forward by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary. Passed in 2015, the law requires all companies with turnover of £36m ($47m) or more that conduct business in the U.K. to report publicly on what they are doing to ensure there is no slavery in their supply chains.
But the world has become more complicated and more challenging in the last year. And supply chains for business have certainly not become more transparent, despite the best efforts of innovation using technology.
This index reveals that both the U.K. and Germany have seen negative shifts in their scores, taking them just over the ‘low risk’ threshold into the ‘medium risk’ category. While Verisk Maplecroft stresses the shifts in scoring are slight, new data has "revealed gaps in the U.K.’s labor inspectorate, while Germany has experienced an uptick in recorded trafficking and servitude violations," it says.
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