Border Control and its Role in Combatting Modern Slavery

Border Control and its Role in Combatting Modern Slavery

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?

UK: The fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in 2016

UK: The fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a year that many may wish to forget. Leaving Brexit and Trump’s election aside, the Sports Direct and Byron Burger scandals plus countless other stories of worker abuse have left us feeling that it’s one step forward and two steps back in the fight against modern slavery.

But if anything, 2016 has showed us that modern slavery is a prominent public issue now.  We’re certainly excited to focus our attention on what 2017 can bring in supply chain improvements and the eradication of human trafficking.

To do so, let’s recap on three major occurrences that have happened this year to summarise the situation going into 2017:

The Modern Slavery Act should be seen as a boost to business rather than a nuisance

The Modern Slavery Act should be seen as a boost to business rather than a nuisance

The deadline for businesses to publish their first slavery and human trafficking statements in accordance with the UK’s Modern Slavery Act has recently passed. For the past year, the duration in which the Modern Slavery Act has been in force, there has been speculation around the fact that businesses may try to avoid publishing a statement for a number of reasons

Going undercover: Retailers need to expose their own supply chain risks before media investigators

Going undercover: Retailers need to expose their own supply chain risks before media investigators

In this month’s look at modern slavery, we’re focusing on the supply chain scandals at the forefront of public attention. 

Recently, the BBC’s Panorama exposed Syrian refugee children working in garment factories supplying the likes of M&S and Asos. The programme also found evidence of hazardous chemicals in another factory and observed the covering up of illegal factory practices during auditors visits. 

This important piece of investigative journalism adds to a long list of labour-related scandals that have implicated almost every industry and corner of the world. The apparel industry especially, and its “fast fashion race to the bottom”, is one of the biggest concealers of modern slavery and other unethical practices.

Supply Chains of Even the Most Ethical Companies can be Breeding Grounds for Modern Slavery

Supply Chains of Even the Most Ethical Companies can be Breeding Grounds for Modern Slavery

Supply chains in this day and age are complex, usually with multiple inter-connected strands spanning continents. This means that things can be distorted when looking down from the top - especially with regard to recruitment methods and working conditions. Those at the top of the chain (usually the retailer) have no idea what is going on within the separate strands of their supply chain in relation to these operations and practices because they tend to focus on production levels and profit over fair worker treatment.

Modern Slavery: Britain and the Slave Trade - Past & Present (Infographic)

Modern Slavery: Britain and the Slave Trade - Past & Present (Infographic)

Slavery existed as an industry for over 230 years. It represents a colossal stretch of world history. Since the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1865, gone are the African-American slaves in the cotton farms of the Deep South, the chain-gangs and the plantation workers.

But modern slavery and forced labour of the same gravity still exist today in every corner of the globe. And Britain is no exception.

Theresa May cannot defeat Modern Slavery alone – Businesses have to do their part

Theresa May cannot defeat Modern Slavery alone – Businesses have to do their part

Last week Theresa May, the UK’s prime minister, announced a crackdown on the “evil” that is modern slavery. She pledged a £33m boost for the fight against this appalling crime, and has set up a newly dedicated taskforce to defeat this corruption – read Theresa’s official article here.

The Global Slavery Index 2016 found that there are an estimated 11,700 people in modern slavery in the UK and a total of 45.8 million people in modern slavery worldwide. Although the UK has a 26.7 out of a 100 vulnerability rating – considerably lower than many other countries – we need to work hard to eliminate this pervasive and hidden practice.

Modern Day Slavery - Is it closer to home than we realise?

Modern Day Slavery - Is it closer to home than we realise?

Slavery – it’s a word that we hear so often. It conjures images and pre-conceptions in our minds, but what is it really? And is it only happening “somewhere else”? Despite being prohibited not long after the Second World War, people are still being forced to work through mental or physical threat because they are seen as easy targets or were born into the ‘wrong’ class. Adults, as well as children, are being forced to work in conditions posing a risk to their health or welfare.

Is this really where slavery begins and ends, or are well hidden, well-disguised traces of these acts happening under our noses? Are they taking place within the organisations in which we work, being passed off as the ‘culture’ of the business, making us the victims of slavery as a management practice?

Putting an end to modern slavery through collaboration

Putting an end to modern slavery through collaboration

'Forced labour’, ‘slavery’ – we say the terms so freely, rolling off the tongue with no hint as to the enormity of the issue. It’s a problem we’re all aware of - and the guilty feelings associated with not doing enough about it. So are we any closer to stamping out slavery, on a global level, once and for all?