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Five-point action plan to eradicate Modern Slavery

Matt Gitsham

With the latest statistics showing vastly increased numbers held captive in modern slavery, a leading research academic has laid down a five-point action plan to help eradicate this global humanity crisis. From Prof Matt Gitsham, of Hult International Business School.

Hult International Business School has undertaken two research studies on the problem, has identified what businesses and governments need to do. The latest figures announced last week by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation, show that the numbers embroiled in modern slavery are getting worse and not better, and that there’s an alarming 40.3 million around the world trapped in this desperate plight.

The recommendations are that: All businesses large and small must examine their supply chain to ensure there is no evidence of the problem; As per the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, companies should make a statement on what they are doing to tackle modern slavery; As well as working with companies in their supply chain, they need to proactively work with competitors, NGOs and unions. CEOs must lead from the front on the issue and managements need to be engaged to manage and maintain thorough processes. Businesses and organisations need to lobby and pressurise governments to take legislative steps that compels companies to take action on the problem.

Modern slavery must not be allowed to slide under the radar and be forgotten about. “Every organisation from small businesses to governments should not hide away from the unethical and criminal practice,” he emphasises. The risk is that it’s likely to be taking place in the supply chains of many organisations even though they don’t know it. They need to drill down into the bowels of their supply chain to root out any pockets of it.”

Governments are best placed to solve problems on modern slavery, and to make this happen, companies need to advocate loud and clear what kind of action they want from the authorities. Right across the board we have to erase the myths or misconceptions about modern slavery that: it died out years ago, only happens in faraway places, is just about poor labour standards, doesn’t happen in our business and is not something I need to care about.

In his first study Prof Gitsham’s research explored the approach of companies to modern slavery when the UK Modern Slavery Act became law and the second report examined their responses a year later. Overall, he interviewed more than 70 leading corporates on how they are seeking to eliminate it as well as conducting subsequent dialogue with organisations, business leaders and other stakeholders.

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