Shayne Tyler was threatened by traffickers after exposing slavery in his factory. But that hasn’t stopped him fighting this heinous crime. SM celebrates some of the many – and increasing – heroes of modern slavery
Found slavery in his organisation
It was back in June 2000 when Shayne Tyler, an operations executive in the food produce industry, became aware of the scourge of modern slavery. The UK factory run by his then employer was featured in an episode of BBC Panorama, which found more than 250 illegal workers (the company was unaware).
The day after the programme aired, and the related media storm kicked off, 58 Chinese workers died in the back of a lorry while being smuggled into the UK. While the case had nothing to do with Tyler’s company, it had a profound impact on him personally, as several Chinese workers were among the 250 illegals.
“It broke my heart that this kind of thing was going on in our country,” he says. “I was mortified that 58 people had died and it hardly hit the headlines. I decided to do more in my business.” Once he started looking deeper, he found evidence of some “horrendous” exploitation. “That day changed my life.”