Principle 18: We recognise that trafficking and slavery are exacerbated by a lack of accessible alternatives for migration or seeking sanctuary – efforts to tackle trafficking and slavery must therefore go beyond more active law enforcement; we also need to support people to flourish in their homelands, establish more safe routes for migrants and refugees, and work to eliminate the demand for those services that slave labour continues to meet.
On the World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Human Trafficking 2023, the Pope launched an appeal to combat human trafficking.
‘Human trafficking disfigures dignity. Exploitation and subjugation limit freedom and turn people into objects to use and discard. And the system of trafficking profits from the injustice and wickedness that oblige millions of people to live in conditions of vulnerability.’
The Santa Marta Group, launched in 2014, brings together the Church, police, business and civil society internationally. The Group notes human trafficking and modern slavery (HTMS) to be one of the gravest challenges confronting the international community and have recently unveiled a new strategy, which includes encouraging governments and businesses to be proactive in preventing HTMS in all aspects of their business and financial activities. More can be found on this strategy at: https://santamartagroup.org/about/strategic-goals
Businesses need to ensure their supply chains are free from slavery, but as consumers, we too need to be aware of what we buy and from whom. We can use our purchasing power to pressure businesses into complying with international standards and ensuring fair practices throughout the production process.
To check if a business is complying with the UK Modern Slavery Act, and view their compliance documents, you can search on the following websites:
Modern Slavery Statement Register:
Launched by the UK Government in 2021, the website acts as a public registry of modern slavery statements. You can view and compare statements of businesses and their compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act: https://modern-slavery-statement-registry.service.gov.uk/.
The Transparency in Supply Chains Platform (TISC):
Launched to assist the UK to monitor compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act, the website has since evolved to track supply chains both nationally and globally. You can search for a company and view its compliance, supply chain and regulatory information: https://tiscreport.org/.
Image: The good shepherd