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Modern Slavery

With an estimated 49.6 million victims worldwide, modern slavery is prevalent in the built environment and its supply chains.

Construction is one of the most at risk sectors with 18% of global forced labour victims working in the industry

Download the Global Slavery Index Report 2023

With an estimated 49.6 million victims of modern slavery worldwide and an estimated 100,000 victims in the UK in 2020, countries are moving to make businesses more accountable for abuses in their supply chains. Governments around the world are insisting on anti-slavery transparency disclosures with a steady increase in criminal and civil enforcement actions being taken. No longer can businesses relinquish their responsibilities by turning a blind eye to what’s happening in the supply chain.

The built environment is considered high risk for modern slavery and wider exploitation due to the huge demand for labour, a severe skills shortage, complex supply chains and the prevalence of indirect and self-employment. In 2019, 12% of the calls to the UK’s Modern Slavery helpline concerned construction. Operation Cardinas unravelled how an organised crime group placed more than 500 victims of modern slavery onto major construction sites in the South East between 2008 – 2019.

Consider your global supply chains – according to the Global Slavery Index 2023, at risks goods imported by the G20 are worth US$468 billion. Some of the big high-risk categories include electronics (US$243.6 billion), garments (US$147.9 billion) and solar panels (US$14.8 billion).

Do you understand your responsibilities under the Modern Slavery Act 2015? Do you understand the potential implications of the growing wave of global due diligence legislation on your own supply chains?Do your employees and supply chain know how to spot the signs of modern slavery? What can you do to set up your sites to combat modern slavery? What due diligence can you demonstrate? Do you understand where the risks lie in your supply chain? How do you embed best practice in combatting modern slavery in your procurement processes and contract management?

Learning Pathways

Modern Slavery: An Introduction
This self-enrol learning pathway is designed to increase your understanding of modern slavery risks within your organisation and within your supply chain. It is the perfect place to start if you want to understand the principles of modern slavery and how you can use due diligence within your organisational processes to combat the risk of labour exploitation. To achieve the badge for this learning path, you must complete each resource.
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Modern Slavery: Due Diligence
This self-enrol learning pathway contains resources designed to build on your basic knowledge of modern slavery and delve deeper in due diligence within organisations and supply chains. To achieve the badge for this learning path, you must complete each resource.
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Modern Slavery: Site Set-Up
This self-enrol learning pathway is designed to increase your understanding of modern slavery risks, to help your understanding in terms of spotting signs of victims of exploitation and outline what to do to set up construction sites to manage this issue. To achieve the badge for this learning path, you must complete each resource.
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Procurement Guidance: Addressing Modern Slavery in Solar PV Supply Chains

Download the guidance here

Download this free procurement guide written by Action Sustainability. The guide looks at the modern slavery risks and impacts in the PV supply chain, then outlines critical steps to address these issues throughout the commercial lifecycle (taking into account leverage). It offers insights into effective solar PV procurement due diligence, with practical tips and guidance for implementation.

With an estimated $14.8 billion of solar panels imported by G20 countries at risk of containing modern slavery, everyone who influences the procurement of solar PV has a role to play.

If you use the guide, you can’t claim assurance of zero forced labour in your supply chain, but you can say you’re aligned with procurement best practice for solar PV.

NOTE: This guide focuses on solar PV; however, the content is transferable and could be used to support responsible sourcing strategies for other renewable energy technology.

Spotting the signs of Modern Slavery in business

Developed by Unseen UK, this video presents some of the signs of modern slavery in business. Useful for employers and on-site supervisors.

Spotting The Signs Of Modern Slavery In Business

Key Modern Slavery resources

Here are a selection of featured modern slavery resources. To view more, please visit our full resource library.

Employment Conditions
Modern Slavery
Employment Conditions
Employment Conditions
Employment Conditions
Employment Conditions
Employment Conditions

Supply Chain Mapping

Knowing where your materials, products and labour come from is the first important step in understanding what risk of modern slavery you might be exposed to. It provides the platform against which you can develop measures to address any identified risks.

Right to Work Guidance

The purpose of this guidance is to assist Supply Chain Sustainability School members who are employers and recruiters, or those responsible for recruitment and employment to:

  • Understand Right to Work and the temporary adjustments due to COVID-19.
  • Get to grips with the implications of GDPR in Right to Work checks.
  • Have easy access to the Home Office guidance checklists and toolkits available to help with Right to Work checks.
  • Recognise the interconnectivity between all the people challenges faced in the built environment.
  • Gain practical insights from School Partners in relation to Right to Work checks.
  • Learn about some of the digital tools available to help with Right to Work checks.
  • Identify where non-compliance is occurring and understand how to address it.
  • Understand how you could engage with your supply chain around Right to Work and what best practice looks like.
Right to Work Guidance

UK Government Modern Slavery Guidance

Take a look at these three important resources from the UK Government:

Modern Slavery
Modern Slavery
Modern Slavery
The People Matter Charter
Learn about the People Matter Charter and how this can help future proof your business and its supply chain.
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The People Assessment
Benchmark your organisation's performance against 8 key people issues
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