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As an organisation, how can I help tackle slavery?

As an organisation, how can I help tackle slavery?

Modern Slavery impacts upon all types of business and presents significant risks.

Exploitation takes many forms and victims can be used to provide goods and services. It is not easy to detect but everyone can help to prevent or identify it.  

What can my organisation do?

Slavery is often associated with organised crime which seeks to exploit vulnerable people. Genuine businesses can be targeted by those seeking to exploit individuals, often without the knowledge of that business, or the workers’ realising their plight.

All staff employed within a business should be made aware of the types of exploitation. This can include Human Trafficking along with Labour, Sexual and Criminal exploitation, Domestic Servitude and Organ Harvesting. They should also know how, when and who to report any concerns to. An introduction to these issues could be included in an induction programme.

The signs and symptoms and identification of modern slavery can be included on training days, at team meetings and during one-to-one meetings. It is important to refresh the training of members of staff to ensure they remain vigilant and provide ongoing support.

Services Provided

Many organisations rely on the provision of services and outsourcing for specific functions. These can include:

  • provision of workers through an agency to meet production demands and outsourcing of services, such as office cleaning
  • recruitment of workers to meet urgent or seasonal demand – like flower factories before Mothers’ Day and turkey processors immediately prior to Christmas - can lead to an increased risk of exploitation.

You should ensure that any person or organisation who provides you with workers and / or services have policies and procedures in place to identify and tackle exploitation. Businesses should be able to demonstrate how workers are recruited and treated, along with the steps they take to address modern slavery.

Supply chain

It is vital you are aware of your supply chain, in particular how and where workers recruited and treated. As a customer you can ask your service provider what steps are being taken to ensure that any workers used are not being exploited. Your supply chain may use many services similar to you.

Checks can be introduced to give you the assurance you may need. These may include the ability to check worker records, conduct regular interviews with agency or temporary workers and the use of independent auditors. It is possible to introduce this into any contracts you enter into.

Adherence to any appropriate licensing or registration requirement, voluntary codes or membership of trade associations or professional bodies can also indicate elements of compliance and probity. You can check the requirements placed upon your supplier by any of these.    

Interviews with workers

These can be conducted formally or informally.  Regular and ongoing informal conversations help to build relationships with workers. Workers should be given the confidence to report any concerns they have and an open dialogue will encourage this. If there are particular concerns, or on an ad hoc basis, an interpreter can be used for any conversation. It is recommended that a business should not be reliant upon friends and work colleagues to act as an interpreter.  

There should also be a clear grievance and complaints procedure. Workers should be aware of how and where to report any concerns, including exploitative practice. If they do, your staff should know how to deal with this and where to report any concerns to.

Demonstrate best practice

Your organisation can demonstrate best practice in a number of ways. You can make it clear to your own staff and suppliers that you expect the highest standard of treatment for workers. You can also state that you will have a zero tolerance approach to worker exploitation. Standards should be applied equally to your own and any agency or temporary workers.

All managers and supervisors should be aware of the indicators of human trafficking and associated exploitation. They should also be aware of when and how to report it.  

Publicity and awareness

There are numerous awareness raising campaigns which can be utilised in the workplace. Posters should be displayed in prominent areas. These may include staff entrances, canteens and locker rooms. However, it should also be considered that exploited and controlled workers may be watched closely at their place of work so consider places where workers can write down numbers or enter them into a mobile phone. Displaying posters on the back of the doors of toilet cubicles or within portable chemical toilets if working in the fields.

Workers may be reluctant to raise matters directly with you. By making them aware of the numbers they can call or organisations which may help this may encourage reporting.

Gangmasters Licencing Authority has some promotional material that can be downloaded (External link).

Who to contact

If you have any concerns you can speak to:

  • The Gangmasters Licencing Authority (External link)
  • Police – 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non emergency situation.
  • The Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Further Information

Home Office and Gangmasters Licencing Authority have produced further information on labour exploitation (External link).

Policies & Guidance

Find relevant guidance and information on the VAWDASV Act.

Find out more

 

About Live Fear Free

Live Fear Free is a Welsh Government website, providing information and advice for those suffering with violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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