Char­ter aims to com­bat mod­ern day slav­ery

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

A mod­ern day slav­ery char­ter has been given the back­ing of South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

A pa­per went be­fore a full meet­ing of coun­cil­lors where it was given cross-party sup­port.

Un­der the Mod­ern Slav­ery Act 2015, com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions with a turnover greater than £36 mil­lion are re­quired to de­velop a slav­ery and hu­man traf­fick­ing state­ment each year.

This ap­plies to com­pa­nies con­tract­ing with the coun­cil.

A re­port by of­fi­cers ex­plains that the coun­cil cur­rently takes a num­ber of steps to limit the po­ten­tial for hu­man ex­ploita­tion in the sup­ply chain, and also to im­prove the em­ploy­ment con­di­tions for those em­ployed by sup­pli­ers.

How­ever, the Co-op­er­a­tive Party have launched a mod­ern day slav­ery char­ter and are look­ing to roll this out across UK lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

A num­ber of Scot­tish coun­cils have al­ready adopted the char­ter in­clud­ing Ren­frew­shire, Dundee City Coun­cil, North Ayr­shire and the City of Ed­in­burgh – with South La­nark­shire now on board.

The char­ter com­mits the coun­cil to a num­ber of pro­cesses, in­clud­ing re­quir­ing its con­trac­tors to com­ply fully with the Hu­man Traf­fick­ing and Ex­ploita­tion (Scot­land) Act 2015 and the Mod­ern Slav­ery Act 2015 wher­ever they ap­ply, with con­tract ter­mi­na­tion as a po­ten­tial sanc­tion of non-com­pli­ance.

In­de­pen­dent East Kil­bride West coun­cil­lor David Wat­son wel­comed the char­ter, say­ing:“It is a very im­por­tant is­sue and the po­si­tion of mod­ern slav­ery in the sup­ply chain is maybe un­der­es­ti­mated – and not nec­es­sar­ily in other coun­tries, but I sus­pect in our own coun­try.

“It is ex­tremely im­por­tant that the coun­cil adopt this char­ter and I hope that we are be­ing re­ally proac­tive with our ma­jor con­trac­tors.”

SNP coun­cil­lor Jim McGuigan also wel­comed the pa­per but called for more to be done to pro­tect women from forced mar­riages, both in a do­mes­tic and com­mer­cial set­ting.

Labour’s Martin Len­non added: “Mod­ern slav­ery is a phe­nom­e­non which of­ten goes unnoticed.

“We all re­mem­ber the [cockle pick­ers] tragedy at More­cambe Bay and, un­for­tu­nately, this is just one ex­am­ple of it.”

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