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Modern slavery

Modern slavery is an international crime affecting millions of people across the globe. It is an unacceptable practice involving people regardless of age, gender or ethnicity in developed (including the UK) as well as developing countries. Within Britain victims include people trafficked from overseas, or vulnerable people from the UK, who are forced to work illegally or against their will. Evidence suggests that this is more prevalent in some sectors than others but can occur anywhere.

The University is committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains or in any part of its activities. As part of this commitment we have adopted an Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy and issue a Modern Slavery Statement annually in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 

Download the University's latest Modern Slavery Statement.

We have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and staff have a duty and a responsibility to support this approach.

Understanding the problem and spotting the signs

There are estimated to be millions of adults and children in forced labour conditions across the globe. Below are a selection of resources to help to show the size of the problem and how by recognising the signs of slavery we can help to start to tackle it.

There are a number of myths and misunderstandings about modern slavery; the 50forfreedom website dispels them clearly.

Understanding how slavery is embedded within production across the planet and throughout supply chains gives an indication of the scale of the issue. Anti-Slavery International have produced an infographic showing the products of slavery and child labour and their website explores the products of slavery in more detail.

Walkfree is an international human rights group and they compile an annual Global Slavery Index where the scale of modern slavery is measured.

Slavery and labour exploitation are problems within the UK; the UK Government has produced a briefing including details of how to spot the sign of slavery.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) have produced an assessment of labour exploitation in the construction sector: GLAA Construction Industry Profile. This document gives construction businesses key questions to ask when taking steps to prevent labour exploitation. 

Familiarise yourself with the signs and know what to do if you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking or slavery.

Annual statements

You can view and compare our progress from our previous Modern Slavery statements which are available below:

We are committed to being open and transparent so our statements are visible through the Transparency in the Supply Chain Portal (TISC), and also the UK Home Office Modern Slavery Statement Registry

Raising awareness

We have been raising awareness of modern slavery with our supply chains for a number of years. Using our online supplier engagement portal every supplier is given the opportunity to tell us about their business and is asked specific questions relating to modern slavery. We have used this information to develop guidance on transparency and responding to modern slavery for SMEs.

We are also committed to working with our suppliers to highlight experiences and start the conversation about how we can jointly tackle this issue. We have run, and attended, a number of events aimed at increasing knowledge and being more open to help drive out the practice of modern slavery and labour exploitation within our shared supply chains. We will continue to work with our suppliers on this important theme.

You can help raise awareness in your own area by displaying a poster about the signs of modern slavery produced by Slave Free Alliance, of which the University is a member.

Collaboration for change

Modern slavery is a global issue embedded with supply chains across sectors and continents. Even as a big purchaser we have a limited ability to drive change on our own. This is why we are committed to working alongside partners to raise awareness and communicate our zero-tolerance of human rights abuses within supply chains.

We encourage transparency on reporting through membership of Transparency in the Supply Chain (TISC), we joined in 2017 and became a Public Partner in 2018.

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We are active in working to remove human rights abuses from supply chains and also encouraging support for victims of trafficking and communities vulnerable to modern slavery. In 2019 we were the first HEI to become a member of the Manchester based charity Slave Free Alliance.

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As an important anchor institution within Greater Manchester we work closely with the multi-agency Modern Slavery Co-ordination Unit within Programme Challenger and their partner Stop The Traffik to support initiatives and make businesses within our city harder for trafficking and slavery to infiltrate.

Image result for programme challenger          Modern Slavery Community Coordinators: Colchester and Hastings & Rother »  STOP THE TRAFFIK

As part of our risk based approach we help monitor issues in high risk areas including construction and IT. We were the first HEI to sign up to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority Construction Protocol and are an affiliate member of Electronics Watch.

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We make wide use of a range of external accreditations to support our activities and help embed best practice in what we do.