WHAT IS MODERN SLAVERY?
Modern Slavery is a crime that can be best understood as centred on destroying the freedom of an Individual – their freedom to choose to refuse certain work or to stop working, their freedom to control their body – so that they can be exploited. This freedom is taken away by threats, violence, coercion, deception and an abuse of power.
Modern slavery is often closely linked to organised crime, and illegal trafficking gangs can go to great lengths to disguise their crimes and falsify documentation. This means that slavery can be hidden in the most unexpected places, and often even in plain sight.
WHY DO COUNCILS MATTER IN COMBATTING MODERN SLAVERY?
Councils play an important role in all our lives as they are responsible for providing services and facilities in our local areas. Their job may include managing things like council housing, education services, local planning, local transport, parks and public places, recreational facilities, social services, waste and recycling, roads, footpaths and electoral registration.
In order to provide all these services to us, councils often resort to subcontracting (employing other companies to provide some of their services). However, it is hard to know whether these companies that they’ve hired are employing people in fair ways, or using goods that have been ethically sourced, unless councils actively look and check. Yet, despite the government requiring large companies to report on their activities regarding modern slavery prevention and how they check on subcontractors, local governments are exempt from having to do so, even though they often have as much money or are as big as these companies!
We think that local councils should step up and be responsible by ensuring that they are not unwittingly employing people in unfair ways, or utilising goods that have been made unethically. Do we want our taxes being spent supporting the grave crime of modern slavery?
SO, TAKE ACTION!