Stop The Traffik talks to North Somerset Business Leader
The third biggest criminal trade after drugs and guns, human trafficking is blighting every community in the UK. But still goes under the radar.
Here, Ruth Dearnley of the global charity Stop The Traffik explains more about the trade and how businesses in North Somerset can do their bit.
Human trafficking is big business. While some 2.4 million people have been trafficked into slavery worldwide, here in Britain and the Southwest we are sadly not exempt – as a recent trial in Weston-super-Mare shows.
Finance Against Trafficking, part of STOP THE TRAFFIK, is a dedicated collection of business advisors, professionals and corporates who aim to foster change in the business community.
A business led solution
The idea behind it is that, as business causes part of the problem of human trafficking, it should also form part of the solution.
Our mission is to become the go-to place for businesses who want to understand the problem and arrive at solutions.
Some business people ask, ‘Is there a problem within the business community?’ The simple answer is ‘Yes’.
Labour trafficking is a demand-driven trade. Take the example of chocolate.
The international chocolate industry has, over the last decade, been working toward the elimination of child labour from its supply chain but the problem persists.
Thousands of children in places like Côte d’Ivoire work under coercion in cocoa plantations.
This might seem far removed, but it is actually something that affects businesses right here in North Somerset.
The issue is the opacity of supply chains and a frequent lack of adequate oversight. Do you know the provenance of every worker in your extended supply chain?
As a Bristol native, allow me to use a clichéd example: cider producers.
What if one of the suppliers from whom you source your apples and pears has, perhaps unknowingly, employed trafficked labour?
Or, what if as you export your cider to Brussels your salesman visits a local prostitute who turns out to have been trafficked?
These are just two examples that could open your company to liability or even criminal inquiry – and the costs incurred to the business could be significant.
Baroness Kennedy’s report
This is anything but a remote risk. Baroness Kennedy’s recent report on trafficking in Scotland found that gangmasters had exploited migrant workers and mentioned fruit picking as a particular area of concern.
There is an additional competitive imperative for businesses to help combat trafficking.
Companies that utilise extended and opaque supply chains to benefit from the reduced costs of forced labour create an uneven playing field for those who are operating ethically.
So, even without addressing the obvious moral aspect, there are clearly business risks associated with human trafficking.
Finance Against Trafficking
If you would like information on the subject or to get involved in our work please visit the website, sign up to the newsletter or get in touch with us to see what you can do.
Additionally, Finance Against Trafficking is developing a series of tools designed to help tackle this issue within the business community. Please help us to become part of the solution! Thank you.
To find out more about Stop The Traffik please visit: http://www.stopthetraffik.org/