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Modern Slavery

What is Modern Slavery?

Modern Slavery is a UK term defined in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 which categorises offences of Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour and Human Trafficking. These crimes include holding a person in a position of slavery, servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Enforced labour (child or adult) can occur in any organisation and its supply chain. It is often driven by the constant pressure by companies to drive down costs. There is likely to be an organised criminal element especially where human trafficking and the management of enforced labour is involved.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country. At the heart of this crime is the traffickers’ aim to exploit, enslave their victims and make massive profits, often to fund other illegal activities such as drugs, weapons, prostitution and similar.

“40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016 – of which about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour.” International Labour Organisation  

What should companies look for?

Within your own organisation, service providers, in your supply chain at home and abroad here are some Red Flags

  • Restricted movement: victims kept against their will & unable to escape
  • Overtime: little/no breaks just to make minimum wage
  • Recruitment fees/loans: charged to work; high living costs deducted from wages
  • Documents: such as passports and other ID withheld by employers so workers cannot leave
  • Payment: in cash vs a documented system showing rates, hours worked, taxes etc
  • Workers Subcontracted: throughout supply chain, increased risk of exploitation
  • No complaints procedure: workers unable to raise grievances/protect their rights
  • Living conditions: living together on site or in poor employer accommodation
  • Slave behaviour: fearful of retaliation, prevented from speaking, limited possessions

How can we help you?

Interchange can provide practical advice and training to address the risks of Modern Slavery to your organisation. Please contact us to find out more.

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