Modern slavery

The corporate responsibility to respect includes ensuring that their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace, and taking steps to stop it from happening in supply chains and elsewhere.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, message on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2011

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According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) around 21 million men, women and children around the world are in a form of slavery.  The Walk Free Foundation has the figure at closer to 36 million.   The illicit profit estimated by the ILO is $150 billion a year, much of it it corporate supply chains.

The recent growth of modern slavery can be connected to a number of geopolitical issues, including: increasing poverty and inequality, global conflicts and the consequent largescale population movements, as well as consumer demand for ever more things at lower cost.

We are currently undertaking three projects under our Modern Slavery programme: exploring working conditions in Qatar's construction industry; engaging brands and others on Syrian refugees in Turkish garment factories; and participating as a partner on KnowtheChain with Humanity United, Verite, and Sustainalytics.