Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Update - 29th October: Modern Slavery In Industry


At the time of the transatlantic slave trade, slaves were looked upon as a different species for whom the populous could feel no sympathy. Today we are not living in a world where slavery is considered to be the norm; we all know different. But, as a wider issue, this fight should be addressed in industry to cut out the ability of individuals to acquire financial gain through the exploitation of others.

There should be a recognised business approach to addressing this issue. There should be no hiding places for exploitation to take hold. There should be transparency in the behaviour of senior management through to the source of the raw materials used, with the conduct of contractors and sub-contractors taken into account. An organisation should have an ingrained ethos that finds any aspect of modern slavery abhorrent. There should be individual and collective responsibility about good practice to address the issue of slavery in the supply chain.

Contractual obligations should not allow ambiguity in interpretation. Nestle do not just prohibit the use of forced labour, but also state that suppliers “must under no circumstances, use or in any way benefit from” forced labour (Tackling Modern Slavery In Supply Chains, Walk Free Foundation).

In addition there should be vigilance in anticipating possible practices that may inadvertently contribute to slavery. This might be reasonably addressed in part by safeguards such as the Gang Masters Licensing Authority as another gatekeeper to avoiding possible third party exploitation of, for example migrant workers who are unfamiliar with the system of the host country. Organisations should be able to robustly demonstrate good working practices if audited.


We’d like to thank Adam Hochschild, author of the compelling book Bury the Chains for his kind message of support, and Karen Okra of Hull Identity / City of Culture for inviting us to participate in the ‘We’re Black and Iconic’ event held at the Guildhall on 17th October as part of Black History Month.

You are cordially invited to join us in our next fundraising event, a Ceilidh (Gaelic / Irish dancing) on Saturday 22nd November at the Marist Parish Hall on Cottingham Road. Come and join us - the evening starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available by emailing us directly.

Image: A backscatter scan image showing illegal immigrants hidden in a cargo container. Photo courtesy of American Science and Engineering, Inc., Billerica, MA.

Reference found on, image taken from