Stronger Together workshop helps delegates understand their responsibilities in tackling modern slavery

May 15, 2015 12:39 pm, Published by , Leave your thoughts

By a delegate of the ‘Tackling Hidden Labour Exploitation’ workshop, Exeter, May 2015

Reading the newspapers and watching TV documentaries has given me a bit of information about Modern Slavery. However, it wasn’t until I attended a Stronger Together ‘Tackling Hidden Labour Exploitation’ workshop earlier this month, that I really understood how close to me modern slavery could be, and the responsibility UK businesses have in tackling it.

Modern Slavery has the potential to affect all of us by infiltrating the supply chains of the products we buy most often. If you think that’s unlikely, or not as bad as it sounds, then attend one of the Stronger Together workshops and hear the stories of those that have been affected, how easily it can happen and how it can only be prevented by businesses uniting in effectively tackling this very real problem.

Joining me on the workshops were representatives of many businesses, most of which supply produce to the leading supermarkets and sponsors of the Stronger Together initiative, or are labour providers. Each person there was attending because their business has committed to protecting their workforce and, in turn, their business from hidden labour exploitation.

We heard Daniel and Weronika’s stories of what it is like to be trapped in modern slavery. We heard the story from the side of the perpetrator too, which helped us understand the motivation to carry out this crime. We were given information about what help is available to those rescued from slavery, and most importantly, we were given the tools to identify and report any potential cases of modern slavery we come across. Most of those attending agreed that they would implement one or more of the processes detailed in the toolkit immediately following the workshop.

The stories we heard were enough to make us all believe that tackling hidden labour exploitation within our supply chains is the ‘right thing to do’, but if anyone was in need of more persuasion, they only needed to think about what the consequences could be if their business did nothing to protect itself from modern slavery. And then there’s the Modern Slavery Bill, introduced in March 2015 and requiring large organisations to publish information about the measures taken to protect their supply chains from hidden labour exploitation.

Businesses are acting. The attendance at the Stronger Together workshop was proof of that. There are workshops held throughout the country, and I urge all HR professionals to attend one. There is one free place available per organisation for ALP members, charities, NGOs and Project Sponsors own label suppliers. To find your nearest course and make a booking, visit www.stronger2gether.org/events

To view Daniel and Weronika’s story, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVcTORaHvig#t=21

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