Gwent Anti-Slavery Seminar 2017
The 'Gwent Anti-Slavery Seminar 2017: Tackling Transparency in Supply Chains' was held this morning at the Rodney Parade sports stadium in Newport. The event saw Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert and leading experts on modern-day slavery sharing best practice and explaining what employers in the private and public sector can do to ensure that the goods, works and services they purchase from suppliers at every stage is done so ethically to protect vulnerable people from being exploited as modern-day slaves.
The seminar provided an opportunity for those attending to understand the implications of the latest Government policy, including the new Welsh Government Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains. The fully subscribed event also discussed the practical aspects of tackling transparency with employers and suppliers and how working in partnership can prevent exploitation in Wales's private and public sector. Gwent Police is one of the Forces leading the way on anti-slavery issues and the event provided an opportunity to showcase and reflect on what has been achieved in partnership across Wales to confront these heinous crimes and to outline the approach for the future.
In 2015, the Modern Slavery Act was passed, requiring large businesses to declare whether they have taken steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place with their suppliers at every stage. This has seen an increase in prosecutions and a 40% rise in the number of victims being identified. Despite this progress, statistics shows that 6 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales did not record a single modern slavery crime in 2015/16 which, according to experts, demonstrates an inconsistent approach to the problem.
Highlighting his commitment to tackling modern-day slavery, Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert, said: "Gwent Police is one of the Forces leading the way on anti-slavery issues in England and Wales. Each and every employer has a responsibility to ensure that the goods, services and works they purchase in each stage of their supply chain are sourced ethically and that people are not exploited as part of the process.
The whole purpose of this conference was to see how the police and our partners can work even closer with employers and suppliers to prevent people from being exploited as modern-day slaves. Employers play a critical role in enabling decent working conditions for their staff but they also have a vital role to play in eradicating this barbaric crime. I hope this conference will inspire employers to be more vigilant and willing to take action."
Mr Cuthbert added: "No single organisation can effectively tackle and eradicate this problem alone. Only by learning from our peers and collaborating with partners across all sectors can we come up with solutions to stamp out modern-day slavery."
The Welsh Government has introduced a number of unique initiatives to bring an end to modern slavery by appointing an Anti-Slavery Coordinator in 2011 to make Wales hostile to slavery and to co-ordinate the best possible support for survivors. A Wales Anti-Slavery Leadership Group has also been established to provide strategic leadership for tackling slavery and to co-ordinate collaboration between devolved and non-devolved partners and community and voluntary sector organisations.
Stephen Chapman, the Wales Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator who chaired the Seminar, said: "This event demonstrates the commitment of Jeff Cuthbert and his office to tackle human trafficking and slavery in supply chains. Gwent Police have successfully investigated and brought to justice a number of criminals for committing this heinous crime and they are sharing their experience to make Wales hostile to modern-day slavery."
For further information on the Welsh Government's Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains, please visit www.gov.wales/code-of-practice