In the wake of last month’s Fashion Revolution Week, which remembered the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, we are left with the feeling that not enough has changed to prevent such tragedies happening again.
In the week that honours the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, it seems fitting to revisit the plight of Bangladeshi clothes factory workers. Four years after serious safety breaches brought unnecessary large-scale tragedy to a community of garment workers, how do today’s fast fashion manufacturers treat their employees?
Modern slavery is a crime that can take many forms, but it is always designed to be hidden from view. It is not a crime that can be witnessed easily in broad daylight, and often victims are bound as much psychologically as they are physically.
And yet many of the industries that are at high risk of illegal recruitment practices tend to be customer facing. Manual labourers, car washes, nail salons… they all have direct touchpoints with consumers as part of their work.
This year’s Sedex AGM Conference has been a breath of fresh air as always. Far from wagging fingers at the audience to clean up their supply chains, the whole event has been eye-opening, collaborative and full of takeaway ideas.
In this series we’ll be sharing stories of individuals who have experienced slavery first-hand in the UK labour market. We want to bring people’s attention to the illegal recruitment practices happening all around us, and how these systems of slavery are created in the first place.
This week we look deeper into a few cases of manual slave labour here in the UK.
Next week we’ll begin a Worker Voice blog series, highlighting the stories of survivors of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK. Each week we’ll be putting the spotlight on a different case study of employee rights abuse in Britain, building to a picture of labour mistreatment in our supply chains today.
According to a report by Ethical Consumer, a consumer goods rating body, the UK’s ethical industry is now worth a staggering £38bn, twice that of the tobacco sector. The report estimates that over half of the UK population are choosing to avoid buying products and/or services over concerns about ethical reputation, alongside an 8.5% increase in responsibly made goods.
While these statistics are extremely encouraging, they don’t give the full picture of ethical trading in Britain.
Today, 8th March, marks International Women's Day. A day which highlights the continued struggle for women's rights around the world. First celebrated in 1909 as “International Working Women’s Day”, the emphasis of the day has evolved throughout the years but maintained the same goal - to fight for equal social and political rights for women.
We thought we’d highlight the International Women’s Day issue closest to our own core philosophy – the rights and fair treatment of female workers around the world.
It has now been over a year since the Modern Slavery Act came into effect, calling for any company earning more than £36m per year to produce a report outlining its commitment to eradicating human trafficking and slavery in their supply chain.
There are several interesting points here. Firstly, the legislation doesn’t demand that UK companies comply with Section 54, insofar as there are no consequences for not submitting a statement. Neither are their penalties for stating that nothing is being done to banish modern slavery in their business.
Airport security has come under intense public scrutiny in recent weeks. President Trump’s travel ban on nationals travelling from 7 predominately Muslim countries has provoked global outrage. Following an over-turning of the ban and assurances from Mr Trump that a repeat executive order is imminent, border security staff remain at the epicentre of the unravelling story.
If the US President believes that border control measures are key to its national security, how are Britain’s borders helping to address modern slavery?