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Connect with Safe Space Collaboration and start to break the culture of silence around Modern Slavery in supply chains.

Safe Space Collaboration have identified the necessity for a different approach to dealing with issues of modern slavery and human rights abuses in order to uncover hidden practices and overcome them in a proactive and sustainable manner. 

Business continuity and resilience are two sides of the same coin. Supply chain webs that collaborate to share information and horizon scan together to anticipate what and where challenges may arise, and are proactive in dealing with that information are more likely to be resilient to crises. Where incidents occur, collaborative supply chain webs that learn through their shared experiences and learnings are most likely to see continuous improvements in their organisations ability to deal with the risk of modern slavery challenges.  

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What is Modern Slavery?

Modern Slavery is an umbrella term used to describe different forms of exploitation including but not limited to forced labour, debt bonded labour, sexual exploitation, child labour, child trafficking, domestic servitude, forced marriage and organ harvesting. While all are varied in nature their commonality is they all involve one person or a gang having control over another person, to deprive individuals of their freedom, by means of force, coercion or threat for the purpose of personal or commercial gain.

The crime of modern slavery is now the second largest criminal activity in the world, second only to the illegal drugs trade and is valued at over $150 billion a year. Original estimates by The Home Office of 10-13,000 slaves in the UK are now believed to be the tip of the ice berg with figures more likely to be in the tens of thousands according to the National Crime Agency.

In the late summer of 2017, The I.L.O and the Walk Free Foundation released global slavery statistics estimating that there were 40.3 million slaves in the world in 2016. The majority of slaves today are female (71%) and more than 50% of all slaves are in forced labour with 50% of those victims being debt bonded often having paid excessive and illegal recruitment fees in order to secure a ‘job’ in the first place. 

The modern slave in the UK today is most likely to be a migrant worker (although one third of all victims are British nationals) with poor English language skills or levels of literacy, no awareness or access to information on their rights and often with mental health or addiction issues. They are vulnerable and therefore easy to exploit. In many cases victims accept the horrific situation they find themselves in as they see no alternative or way out.

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Should business be concerned about modern slavery?

Increasingly Human Rights abuses and the crimes of Modern Slavery are being included on the risk agenda because businesses operating in the formal economy and/or relying on a supply chain web that is in fact operating in the informal economy are vulnerable to greater risk of Human Rights abuses and Modern Slavery crimes. Globalisation and megatrends around the casualisation of labour, unprecedented migration levels, poor enforcement of worker rights, ageing populations and the constant commercial requirement to buy more at lower costs has contributed to increased abuses of human rights around the globe.

Whatever business you are involved in you are likely to encounter Modern Slavery within your supply chain, whether that is the product or service you provide to customers or it is the products and services you use going about your activities.

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