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How Businesses Can (And Should!) Take on Modern-Day Slavery

In the second part of our modern slavery podcast series, we talk to Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg, Stronger Together’s Global Programme Lead, about tackling modern-day slavery.

Modern-Day Slavery Is Often a Hidden Problem

Attempts to tackle modern-day slavery have come a long way since our partner Stronger Together began their work in 2013. In a study with suppliers who have attended Stronger Together’s Tackling Modern Slavery in Businesses workshops, 96% of the participants questioned said their knowledge and understanding of modern-day slavery had increased.

Encouragingly, 87% said that the workshops had helped them understand how to manage potential situations of forced labor. Almost three-quarters of the respondents, meanwhile, said their senior management had made a commitment to tackle modern-day slavery in their business and supply chain.

But there remains much for businesses to do if they are to continue to support and lead the fight against this major global issue. With this in mind, Eukleia and Stronger Together’s elearning resources have a vital role to play.

Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg, Stronger Together’s global programme lead, describes modern-day slavery as a ‘hidden crime’. Around 25 million people are affected by modern-day slavery worldwide, and the problem often goes unseen in the business supply chain.

Speaking in the second part of our modern slavery podcast series, she explains that detecting, deterring, and dealing with modern-day slavery is a case of changing behaviors at all levels of organizations. Stronger Together’s eLearning programs are an enormous help in achieving that.

LEO and Stronger Together's modern slavery podcast series looks at forced labor and modern-day slavery

Businesses Are Increasingly Embracing the Challenges Posed by Modern-Day Slavery

More and more businesses, including the nine largest UK supermarkets who have joined the multi-stakeholder initiative, are realizing the size of the challenge.

Following the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015, other countries have followed suit with similar legislation, including France and the Netherlands, while Australia is looking to implement its own Modern Slavery Act, based on the UK's.

National and international legislation is just one of the driving incentives for tackling modern-day slavery. Some of the other compelling reasons include:

  • The moral necessity of dealing with exploitation
  • The reputational risk posed to companies who do not deal with modern-day slavery issues
  • The increasing awareness among potential investors of what constitutes good practice
  • The opportunity to be recognized as a leader on this issue amongst competitors

Dealing With Modern-Day Slavery Is a Collaborative Process

In the podcast, Jantine discusses key points that businesses need to consider when beginning to tackle modern-day slavery, including:

  • Dealing with the issue of modern-day slavery means working across the entire organization, from senior management to the supply chain
  • Buy-in at the top is important in terms of priority-setting, but people on the ground are often the most likely to spot signs of exploitation
  • Training needs to allow people to deal with issues on a strategic and operational level, preventing problems at an early stage
  • Implementation beyond an organization’s own operation can be critical – and businesses need to consider their suppliers, labor providers, and contractors, for example when dealing with direct suppliers and/or labor providers.

Guidance from Stronger Together is provided in a number of ways. As well as face-to-face interactive workshops with experts and peer-to-peer support to share challenges, eLearning is an important part of Stronger Together’s training opportunities for businesses. Learners also benefit from exploring the issue of modern slavery at their own pace.

Stronger Together’s current range of elearning modules includes:

  • Tackling Modern Slavery for UK Businesses
  • Tackling Forced Labour for Businesses based outside the UK
  • Tackling Modern Slavery in the UK – Supervisors
  • Tackling Modern Slavery in the UK – Recruiters

Bespoke training can also be developed.

A Team Effort to Tackle a Widespread Issue

There is a clear and urgent need for businesses to gain a deeper understanding of how to address modern-day slavery.

For more, including how you can benefit from Eukleia and Stronger Together’s range of online training courses to tackle modern-day slavery in your business, visit https://stronger2gether.org/elearning/.

Listen to the latest part of the modern-day slavery podcast here. For your convenience, the full series can be accessed here too.

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