Shopper Stephanie Wilson was shocked to find at the bottom of the bag of her new department store purchase a note with a plea for help from a Chinese factory. The writer Tohnain Emmanuel Njong, a prisoner, said “we are ill-treated and work like slaves for 13 hours every day.”1
Slavery is known as the hidden crime. Understanding our connection to modern slavery through the products and services we buy is not easy. Consider that over 130 goods from more than 70 countries are produced with forced labor.2 Shouldn’t large companies be required to take action to ensure that as consumers we are contributing to the end of modern slavery, not supporting it?
We rely on the brands we know and love but there is no legal requirement for any company in the UK to do everything possible to show that they take seriously their responsibilities to respect workers’ freedom from slavery.
Isn’t it about time that changed? The Modern Slavery Bill provides a unique opportunity for the UK to be a world leader by introducing new legislation to ensure that large companies can be held to account. These changes are supported by business 3 and parliamentarians.4
Call on the UK’s Prime Minister to use the opportunity of the Modern Slavery Bill to introduce legislation so that UK companies lead the way in the fight against modern slavery.
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10798883/New-York-shopper-finds-note-made-by-Chinese-prisoner.html ↩
- http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/pdf/2013TVPRA_Infographic.pdf ↩
- http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/let’s-end-modern-slavery and http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_news_detail.asp?id=2609&kCat=&kData=1 ↩
- http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201314/jtselect/jtslavery/166/16608.htm ↩