The thought of employing or encouraging modern slaves in our businesses or in our supply chains is not acceptable or desirable from a personal, moral, ethical or legal point of view. However, we can never be 100% certain that we have not done this or will not be doing this during 2020. This was one of the key messages from the recent Working Together to Prevent Modern Slavery conference that was hosted by G's Fresh in Ely, Cambridgeshire and attended by Rachel Blackburn and some US2U Consulting cients.
John Shropshire OBE, CEO of G's Group - which employs over 7000 people across multiple countries - gave an overview of some of the challenges and a variety of speakers including Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Nick Dale, Superintended of West Midlands Police and Paul Willgoss, Technical Director, Marks and Spencer, all shared their experiences and frameworks for managing businesses to prevent this type of suffering and exploitation. The conference contained film of victims of Modern Slavery explaining their stories as to what had happened to them and the ongoing trauma, even after they had been rescued from most distressing iving conditions in the UK.
Priority messages to conference delegates were to focus on prevention by raising public awareness of Modern Slavery (known as Trafficking in Scotland), making sure that all staff are trained to spot any signs, and the importance of sharing information across the business community and with relevant authorities if there are suspicions that gang leaders are exploiting vulnerable people across multiple companies and sectors.