Latest modern slavery fight updates -

NHS suppliers at “high risk” of modern slavery use

  • Published on
    December 27, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

A review conducted by the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care found that over 20% of the 1,361 suppliers to the National Health Service (NHS) are at “high risk” of modern slavery in their supply chains. The Guardian reports.

China’s role in NHS supplies sparks modern slavery concerns

Nearly half of all NHS suppliers of gowns, uniforms, and masks are located in China. The review flagged concerns over the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where an estimated 100,000 individuals, including Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, are believed to be working under forced labor conditions.

The review utilized risk assessments from the government’s Modern Slavery Assessment Tool (MSAT) and other criteria. Based on these evaluations, it was determined that 21% of NHS suppliers were categorized as high-risk.

The findings have sparked outrage:

“NHS staff will be appalled they’re using protective clothing and equipment made by people at risk of modern slavery or human trafficking.” – Jon Richard, Assistant General Secretary, UnisonBottom of Form.

Urgent calls for reevaluation and action

While the U.K. government is taking steps to identify and eradicate modern slavery in their supply chains, the results show that more needs to be done. Advocates call on the government to look beyond procurement and introduce trade mechanisms to stop products made with forced labor from entering the country. Furthermore, standards need to be improved across all public sector supply chains.

“While we’re pleased to see that the government has taken steps to identify the very real risk of modern slavery in NHS supply chains, this is only the first of many steps.” – Sian Lea, Business and Human Rights Manager, Anti-Slavery International

Furthermore, it was recommended to embed due diligence processes. Mandatory human rights due diligence laws are important to ensure companies are held accountable for abuses in their supply chains. Join us in calling for laws that put people and the planet before profits!


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Workers’ complaint filed against Saudia Arabia amid FIFA World Cup bid

AP News reports that a coalition of trade unions has lodged a formal complaint against Saudi Arabia, accusing the nation of severe human rights abuses. The complaint, submitted to the International Labor Organization (ILO), alleges mistreatment and wage theft affecting over 21,000 migrant workers over the past decade. This comes as FIFA prepares to finalize Saudi Arabia as the host of the 2034 World Cup. Building and Wood Workers’ International

| Wednesday June 5, 2024

Read more