Companies must check supply chains for ‘modern-day slavery’

21 March 2013

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21 March 2013 | Adam Leach

Businesses must work together to ensure there is no forced labour in supply chains and require their suppliers to sign a code of conduct to tackle the problem.

In addition to getting vendors to sign a code of conduct with specific requirements relating to forced labour and human rights, companies including major hotel and fast food chains were told at a Home Office conference this week to develop anti-human trafficking policies and strategies. Businesses were also told to increase awareness training for staff and check their supply chains to ensure each step of the process is accounted for.

Mark Harper, immigration minister, said: “It is of paramount importance that we raise awareness of the potential for trafficking and exploitation among companies in the hospitality, catering, education and retail sectors. Encouraging businesses to sign a charter and review their own supply chains is part of a package of real action by the government to eradicate the scourge of modern-day slavery.”

The charter was prompted by evidence provided by law enforcement agencies and charities that traffickers were forcing individuals to work in the private sector to pay off debts they felt they were owed.

Companies of all sizes have been warned unless they make the proper checks in their supply chain they could be implicated in instances of exploitation and human trafficking.

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