By Pamela Zielinski, Construction Programme Manager at Stronger Together 

To date, there has been a general reluctance from businesses to publicly report on any incidents of Modern Slavery they have discovered; this may be due to any number of issues such as; fear of clients dropping their contracts, damage to their reputation and an uncertainty on how to manage an incident when it happens. Whilst on the radar of many, a lot of employers will not have had first-hand experience of dealing with a case of Modern Slavery yet. However, given the ongoing escalation of reported victims, the likelihood of this happening within your business continues to increase. Your response to a potential case of Modern Slavery can be a defining moment for your business.

Responsible businesses need to be equipped and prepared to not only deter and detect potential instances of Modern Slavery, but also to be able to respond appropriately if something is uncovered; for the protection of suspected victims as well as other employees who may face danger and threats. With this in mind, we have put together three tips on how to respond to Modern Slavery in your business.

  1. Prepare properly – don’t underestimate the value of effectively preparing your business for the event of uncovering a case of Modern Slavery. Ensure your team understand their roles and responsibilities, stop and ask yourself: in the event of a case of Modern Slavery being discovered at your site, could you demonstrate that everyone had received appropriate training to properly fulfil their role?
  2. Ensure you are informed on best practice – equip yourself to manage an instance of suspected modern slavery in a way that reduces risk to the potential victim and to your business. Book onto our new half-day workshop Good Practice in Handling Suspected and Reported Cases of Forced Labour to gain expert guidance.
  3. Don’t try to tackle this alone – engaging with the appropriate authorities is vital for the safety of potential victims and for the staff responding. Watch this video by the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) to see how doing the wrong thing puts your business and potential victims at risk. If you believe someone may be a victim of Modern Slavery or you need advice you can trust contact:

The Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 (confidential, 24/7)

The GLAA on 0800 432 0804 (office hours, confidential) or email them at [email protected]

The Police on 101 (non-urgent) or 999 (emergency).

If you haven’t already, visit our website to:

Register for monthly updates about Stronger Together’s construction specific tackling modern slavery programme, developed in partnership with the CIOB;

Book onto a training course for expert guidance on practical steps you can implement to mitigate the risk of modern slavery within your operations and supply chain.

If you have any other questions about how Stronger Together can support you, please contact us at [email protected].