Modern slavery is often found at the farthest reaches of the supply chain in Tier 2 and beyond

Modern slavery is often found at the farthest reaches of the supply chain in Tier 2 and beyond

A new guide has been produced to help businesses understand key concepts, legal definitions and their responsibility to tackle modern slavery.

Produced by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Anti-Slavery International, the manual includes advice to help companies develop a deeper understanding of key concepts and legal responsibilities, as well as listing tools, tips and techniques for reducing and mitigating risk.

Modern slavery is an umbrella term that includes forced labour, debt bondage, servitude and trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation, while forced labour describes a situation in which a worker performs work or services involuntarily under threat of penalty.

ETI and Anti-Slavery International strongly advise companies to proactively look for 11 indicators of forced labour: 

  • Abuse of workers' vulnerability;
  • Deception;
  • Restriction of movement;
  • Isolation;
  • Physical or sexual violence;
  • Intimidation and threats;
  • Retention of identity documents;
  • Withholding wages;
  • Debt bondage;
  • Abusive living and working conditions;
  • Excessive overtime.

Originally identified by the International Labour Organization (ILO), a single indicator when taken on its own may not constitute slave labour. But, ETI and Anti-Slavery International believe, that when several are present they almost certainly do.

"The statistics are stark," says ETI spokesperson Cindy Berman. "Not only is modern slavery a predominantly business issue, companies recognise it as such. Well over three-quarters believe that there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains."

Modern slavery is often to be found at the farthest reaches of the supply chain in Tier 2 and beyond.

The guidance not only lists the indicators but goes further by outlining what to look for within each indicator as well as cataloguing mitigation strategies.

 "It is important that companies exercise their leverage to reduce the risk of slavery in supply chains and influence suppliers' employment practices. But they can only do this if they know what to look for and how to end exploitation," Berman adds.

Click here to download ETI's new modern slavery base code guidance.