It may come as a shock that modern slavery, specifically forced labour are very much a prevalent issue in our supply chains. There are over 40.3 million victims of slavery worldwide. Forced labour is the most common type of exploitation, where a person is coerced or forced to work for very little or no pay, and usually cannot leave this situation without punishment or threat of penalty. Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the small businesses or rebel groups, this generates $150 billion in illegal profits per year.
Modern Slavery is still very much a major issue in the 21st century and is unfortunately constantly growing, allowing human trafficking to be the third largest crime worldwide. The home office estimates there are around 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK alone.
Everyday, we use products produce by modern slaves! the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the devices we use. Businesses have to play a critical part in preventing modern slavery from growing in our supply chains. Many companies mission is ‘fast fashion’, this allows them to produce products cheaply and quickly for a rapid income. This increases the possibility of workers being exploited behind the scenes. Modern slavery usually exists deep in the supply chain, where work is characterised as low skilled and low paid. The workers are commonly temporary, agency and migrant workers unaware of their rights and labour protections.
We need to start with SME businesses. Small and medium sized businesses generally lack the knowledge to prevent and address modern slavery in their operations. However, there is small steps they can take to begin the fight against modern slavery. The best step this tier of the supply chain can take is to have a modern slavery reporting mechanism in place prominently on their website allowing anybody to report any concerns they may have regarding exploitation within your business or its supply chain.
Collaborate with an anti-trafficking organisation to start your journey now and provide the right information and training resources to your business and its supply chain.
Safe and Free could be the organisation for you, follow this link and view the packages available that suits your business...