Retailers collaborate to tackle supply chain slavery

17 October 2013

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18 October 2013 | Gurjit Degun

Home secretary Theresa May has launched a new protocol between suppliers and retailers calling for greater transparency in the supply chain to eradicate slavery.

The British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation and Fresh Produce Consortium have agreed to share any information they may have on the exploitation of workers with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

The initiative coincides with anti-slavery day, which aims to raise public understanding of modern slavery and calls to eliminate it.

During the launch, which took place at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) headquarters in London, May said the protocol was a “vital step” in tackling modern slavery in supply chains.  She added that by signing the protocol, businesses are “making a commitment to be vigilant”.

“You are in a unique position to help fight this crime and help victims of it,” said May. “If all businesses made understanding how modern slavery can impact them and their supply chain, slave drivers would have nowhere left to go.”

She also revealed the Government is looking to publish a Modern Slavery Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny in the coming months.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “It’s important that regulators, employers and recruiters work collaboratively to create greater transparency and accountability within supply chains. The REC and our members recognise the key role that our industry plays in ensuring safe recruitment practices are maintained.

“We will soon be issuing guidance to our members to help them identify and report issues of exploitation so this criminal activity can be eradicated once and for all.”

The four groups have agreed to:

Ӣ Work in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers

Ӣ Agree to share information, where possible, to help stop or prevent the exploitation of workers

Ӣ Work together to manage information sensitively and confidentially

Ӣ Commit to raising awareness within the supply chain

Ӣ Maintain momentum through this protocol by communicating regularly

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