At our most recent Supporters’ Network event, we had Susan Banister from the Slave-Free Alliance speak to us about Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. These issues are rampant right now in the UK and this was an eye-opening presentation that guided those in the room on how to work toward a slave-free supply chain.
In understanding more about the current situation of modern slavery in the UK, it’s important to note that traffickers do not just target the employers and sectors we already consider to be ‘at risk’, they also exploit workers under the cover of established and unexpected companies. “All businesses can be targeted” warned Susan, and the signs of modern slavery can be subtle, but awareness is key in exposing these exploitations.
Businesses have a chance to take ownership in order to fight modern slavery. More than likely, you will find victims in your organisation through casual conversation rather than formal questioning. Staff and line managers are the first line of defense as they are the eyes and ears of the business, training these individuals to be aware of indicators and take action will be paramount in helping victims.
Some indicators are multi-occupied living conditions, pay not going into the employee’s bank account, someone else having their ID or passport, fear of authorities/police and employees being dropped off and picked up by the same person. Let these indicators serve as a red flag, a moment to take pause. Re-framing how you see these indicators is a necessary step to take according to Susan, stop to think if this could be a sign of a bigger problem rather than what it appears to be on the surface. See additional indicators and next steps in the presentation slides below.
Making sure to do your due diligence and question, question, question will make all the difference. When it comes to scrutinizing your own organisation for signs of modern slavery and human trafficking, Susan passed on these words of advice to our Supporters, “Don’t be afraid of finding it – be afraid of not finding it. We already know it’s out there, it’s what you do when you find it.”
Susan Banister’s slide deck can be found below. For more information and resources including gap analysis, training, and advocacy and remediation, visit slavefreeallice.org. This event was held by Knights plc, in their office at Saint Peter’s Square.
These events are a chance to connect with other Supporters and learn about topics that align with the seven characteristics of good employment as set out in the Charter. To join in on our next event, sign up as a Supporter of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter.