We think of slavery as something from the history books but it is happening in towns, cities and even rural areas across the UK at this very moment.
It is a despicable crime affecting the most vulnerable people in our society, who are targeted by ruthless predatory criminals.
The UK is arguably leading the world in the fight against it through the Modern Slavery Act and our advanced law enforcement response, but businesses have a vital role to play, especially when it comes to eradicating this crime in their supply chains. The Co-op has stepped up to the plate, by providing jobs for the victims of modern slavery. In doing so, they are also highlighting the existence of this crime amongst their staff, suppliers and customers.
Victims need to be supported while they rebuild their lives and central to that is the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides. Without this, there is a real chance that they could fall back into the hands of those who have exploited them and for the terrible, unspeakable cycle of enslavement to begin again." Paul Gerrard, CSR Director, Co-op.
In addition, they are lobbying the Government to tighten its flagship Modern Slavery Act, arguing that the legal requirements for large companies to report on their efforts to eliminate trafficking and exploitation from their supply chains must be tightened and extended to public bodies.
Hear more about the Co-op's work in the area of modern slavery, what you could do in your organisations (small and large) and have a tour of the Co-op's Angel Square building.
Please note - this event is limited to 40 attendees, so please register soon to avoid disappointment, and please let us know if you plan to drop out.
Paul Gerrard, Policy and Campaigns Director | The Co-op - how the Co-op is fighting modern slavery
Policy and Campaigns Director
After twenty years in the UK Civil Service, Mr Gerrard has been Policy and Campaigns Director at the world’s oldest co-operative business, the Co-op, since 2016 and leads their campaigning, ethics and sustainability work including on supporting survivors of slavery, which was recognised by the Stop Slavery award in 2017, and on tackling loneliness. Mr Gerrard is a Fellow of IEMA the global body of sustainability professionals.Susan Banister
Head of Business Development
Susan Banister is a law graduate who ended up working in the commercial sector. She has over 25 years’ experience working with businesses from start-ups to FTSE 100 companies. Susan Banister now heads up the Business Development team at Slave-Free Alliance.
Susan has hands on experience of rescuing victims of forced labour in the UK and understands the devastating effect this crime has and how victims and businesses can find themselves exploited.
Ranked #24 of Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers Index 2018, Susan currently works with businesses looking at modern slavery in their own organisations and their supply chains. Some of the key clients she works with are Aviva Group, Experian, Dixons Carphone, Arriva plc and Severn Trent to name but a few.