Agriculture, CSR and Sustainability, Human Rights, Policy and Reform, Slavery, Supply Chain

11 key points about Modern Slavery

Last week Innovation Forum held the latest in our series of debate-based edgy events on supply chain issues.

I can’t tell you who said what. For that you’ve have had to be there, or do come along to the next one.

But here’s 11 key points I took away from the first session, which I moderated. All fairly obvious, but may be helpful in your work.

  1. Modern slavery is simply illicit trade.
  2.  An economic issue with horrendous outcomes We have a common agenda: no-one wants slaves in their supply webs. Mapping these is a key first step.
  3.  Companies must apply business rigour to this issue, as with any other, in collaboration with NGOs.
  4. Companies cannot hide and must confront the problems directly.
  5. NGOs also need to reform and stop seeing business as ‘a bad thing’ but as a partner to collaborate with.
  6. Societal expectations are changing – Generation Z are global citizens, with complete connectivity.
  7. Tackling the demand side is completely key in addressing modern slavery Whilst many company executives are troubled by these issues, they struggle to know what to do about it, and how far to go.
  8. Many trying to work on the area are undercut by less scrupulous competitors, which is why a level playing field on disclosure and regulation is so important.
  9. Companies have to be at the table on this level playing field, so as to ensure consistency. Be part of the political response.
  10. Audits and certification schemes alone are not going to cut it. Company responsibilities cannot be outsourced.
  11.  There is a concern that reporting regimes may proliferate world-wide.

Here’s five key facts from the NGO Unseen, which campaigns on the topic:

1. Almost 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.

2. Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.

3. Forced labour in the private economy generates US $150 billion in illegal profits per year.

4. In the UK in 2015, 3,266 people were identified as potential victims of trafficking. This is a 40% increase on 2014 figures.

5. Of the 3,266 potential victims of trafficking identified in 2015, 982 of these were children.

Much more here. And ten times a year we cover the key areas in sustainable supply chain here.

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