Today, Tuesday 10th December 2019, we attended a workshop on Modern Slavery in UK Businesses held by Stronger Together.
Many thanks to Mary and Roger who held the workshop and were very knowledgeable and informative.
Who are Stronger Together?
Launched in 2013 and now have a global reach, Stronger Together in a business-led initiative who constantly aim to reduce modern slavery with a key focus on;
- Hidden forced labour
- Labour trafficking
- Third-party exploitation of workers
“Each one of the 40 million people trapped in modern slavery today is a person, like you and I, and we must individually and collectively take responsibility to bring an end to this great human rights abuse. I truly believe that responsible businesses hold the key to effecting this global change. Stronger Together will work with you on this journey.”– David Camp, Programme Lead, Stronger Together
Who was the Stronger Together Workshop For?
This Stronger Together workshop is ideal for those who are an employer or a labour provider who could potentially be around Modern Slavery but may not be aware of this because of not knowing the signs to look out for. This workshop is ran by industry specialists to help businesses detect and tackle modern day slavery and the hidden third party exploitation of workers.
What was the Workshop About?
The workshop was a full day packed with seminars, keynote speaking, round table workshops, 1-2-1 discussions and group discussions. The key objectives for the day were;
- To understand what modern slavery and forced labour is and how this is taking place in our industry and communities today
- To know what you can do to deter, detect and deal with potential hidden labour exploitation in your business
Although this isn’t something that directly affects Suits Me® within our internal workforce, we understand that Modern Slavery is very much real and a terrible, scary situation to be in. Migrant workers are especially vulnerable to Modern Slavery and as a large proportion of our customers are migrant workers, we take it very seriously and have strategies in place to build awareness of and what to do if you are in this position or know someone that may be. We also work with a great deal of recruitment agencies, farms, warehouses and hospitality businesses all around the UK who, like many businesses in the UK, use migrant workers also. This being the case, we work on educating our businesses partners also.
So, although Modern Slavery doesn’t necessarily affect us directly, we feel that it could potentially along the chain and so do our very best and our part in Tackling Modern Slavery.
Tackling and Reducing Hidden Labour Exploitation
At Suits Me® we are committed to tackling and reducing hidden labour exploitation and do so by multiple means and through multiple channels including;
- Appointing a Suits Me® – Stronger Together company advocate
- Initial Stronger Together training within the new staff induction programme
- Providing ongoing staff training programme
- We are currently working on our ‘Tackling Modern Slavery’ company policy
- Constantly share the ‘Tackling Modern Slavery’ messages via our social channels
- Attend Stronger Together Workshops
- Providing free ‘Tackling Modern Slavery’ resources to all of our business partners
- Currently in the process of becoming a Stronger Together Partner
What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery is an umbrella term used to describe the exploitation of someone for personal or commercial gain. There are many types of Modern Slavery including;
- Sexual Exploitation
- Criminal Exploitation
- Forced Labour
- Domestic Servitude
- Forced of Servile Marriage
- Human Trafficking
- Organ Harvesting (not yet identified in the UK!)
Signs of Forced Labour
- Retention of passports and ID cards
- Withholding wages
- Refusing to pay workers
- Withholding bank cards and/or cash
- A worker has paid for work
- A worker is being threatened and abused
- A worker is threatened with harassment towards their family
What Should I Do if I Suspect a Worker is within Modern Slavery?
- Try talking to the worker first in private.
- If possible and you trust your line manager, make them aware
- If neither of the above is possible…contact the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 and they will be able to provide you with some advice. You can also contact the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) on 0800 432 0804 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or the police 101 (non-urgent) 999 (urgent)
I’m Being Exploited and Don’t know what to do?
- If possible and you trust your line manager or recruiter, make them aware.
- If neither of the above is possible, contact the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 and they will be able to provide you with some advice. You can also contact the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) on 0800 432 0804 or via email email@example.com or the police 101 (non-urgent) 999 (urgent).
Together we can help to reduce forced labour, labour trafficking and other hidden third party labour exploitation