What HR can do to help abolish Modern Slavery

What HR can do to help abolish Modern Slavery

By Ian Pettigrew (Director and Coach, Kingfisher Coaching)

The charity Hope for Justice defines Modern Slavery as being where one person controls another by exploiting a vulnerability. It is often linked with human trafficking, where a person is forced into service against their will – usually forced work or prostitution. The control can be physical, financial or psychological.

If you think that slavery is something that used to happen or only happens in other parts of the world, then you are wrong. There are estimated to be 24.9 Million people trapped in Modern Slavery across the globe, 71% of whom are women and girls. 

Suspected cases of Modern Slavery regularly feature in the news in the UK, and you can read about a case in the West Midlands that was successfully prosecuted that involved 400 victims being exploited: UK’s largest-ever modern slavery ring smashed

The legislation does exist, and The Modern Slavery Act requires all businesses with an annual turnover above £36 million to publish a yearly statement on Modern Slavery and Trafficking. The statement identifies what steps the organisation is taking to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking are not taking place within its organisation (or its supply chain). Despite this, one survey indicated that 77% of organisations expected to find modern slavery in their operations or supply chain. 

Why should HR professionals be concerned about modern slavery?

Alongside the moral and legal obligations, one of the core behaviours in the CIPD Profession Map is Ethical Practice, and I believe that HR has a real choice to make. 

You can ignore the risks and be inadvertently complicit, or you can do something. There are practical steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of modern slavery in your organisation and its supply chain. 

When you look at what has happened with the cases of modern slavery, it often seems to be a whole series of missed opportunities that allow modern slavery to flourish. On the other hand, it is prevented when HR does its job (e.g. spotting when lots of employees all have bank accounts registered to the same address) or when people are trained to spot the warning signs. 

Join CIPD Manchester Branch on 30 September from 17:45 to 19:30 for a free and hard-hitting and informative event, featuring expert input on what you can do. Places are open to all HR professionals with or without CIPD Membership.

I would wholeheartedly encourage people from all sorts of HR roles to attend.

About Ian
Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy® http://www.theheadshotguy.co.uk 07768 401009

Ian Pettigrew runs Kingfisher Coaching, helping leaders to sustainably get the best of themselves and their teams. He does this through providing leadership development programmes, workshops, coaching (both online and in-person), writing, blogging, speaking at conferences, and publishing a podcast. Ian’s areas of deep expertise are strengths-based leadership (he is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach) and personal resilience.

Follow Ian on Twitter @KingfisherCoach or connect with him on LinkedIn


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Event brought to you in collaboration with Susan Banister from the Slave-Free Alliance