Currently, only businesses with a turnover exceeding £36m are required by law to ensure their supply chain is free from slavery but we can all play a part.
We’re calling on all businesses to show their support for an end to this appalling crime.
Help end the misery of modern slavery
Modern slavery victims can be men, women and children but it is most common amongst the vulnerable, and within minority or socially excluded groups. Approximately two-thirds of victims are women, and a third are men. Every fourth victim of modern slavery is a child.
There are an estimated 13,000 people in slavery in the UK today. Slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher.
In March 2015, The Modern Slavery Act became law which ensured law enforcement has stronger powers, perpetrators receive suitable severe punishment and victims are better protected and supported.
A conference arranged by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was held in Stafford to highlight the hidden threat of modern slavery and to raise awareness.
The conference, aimed at professionals and local businesses, was attended by 500 people and took place at the Staffordshire County Showground.
Speakers included Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, a survivor of child sexual exploitation as well as other speakers from organisations who work to highlight and tackle Modern Slavery.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold, who is spearheading an awareness campaign, on behalf of Matthew Ellis, about the illegal exploitation of people, said: ‘Modern slavery is still happening across the UK and Staffordshire is not exempt.
‘It is estimated 29.8 million people around the world are currently affected and it is an issue which we all need to face.
‘Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery.
‘It is important we highlight the risks of slavery, people trafficking and forced labour to local businesses and professionals as well as explaining the signs to look out for.’
Staffordshire Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said:
‘Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime which is often hidden in plain sight.
‘It’s happening across the UK and it’s happening in Staffordshire, although we do not know the scale, big or small, of it here.
‘It’s important that we understand that fact as soon as possible and work is going on to make sure that happens.’
Supporting victims and witnesses is one of the key priorities in the Safer, Fairer United Communities strategy for more local and effective policing in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.