Modern Slavery in Construction — Ask the Experts
Worldwide, the construction industry is composed of elements that constitute modern slavery: forced labour and other forms of exploitation. It is a two-sided industry; on one side it represents the fast paced acceleration of society, but on the other side, the ‘dark-side’, it sees the abuse of those vulnerable to it. To ask the experts, and listen to their take on the matter, sign up below to our free webinar taking place this Thursday 19th January at 4pm GMT (11am EST).
Sitting on the panel are five industry experts, with whom we will discuss how the construction sector can mitigate modern slavery supply chain risk. Moderator of the session, Sam Hemmant, Marketing Leader for Entity Due Diligence & Monitoring at LexisNexis, has a particular interest in Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking issues and aligns closely with RELEX Group initiatives to support United Nations sustainable development goals. Karen Gray, Senior Supply Chain Management Specialist at LexisNexis, is the central person for all Supply Management solutions. Shamir Ghumra, Director at Centre for Sustainable Products at BRE, is an expert on Responsible & Ethical Sourcing for the construction industry and is a member of a number of British and European standards committees whilst also sitting on the board of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg, Strategy, Policy, Partnerships & Communications Manager at Stronger Together, is an anti-human trafficking and modern slavery specialist with over six years’ experience working for private, non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations. Last, but not least, Ian Nicholson, founder and Managing Director/Owner at Responsible Solutions Ltd, has devoted his business to working with others that want to make a difference to their own business efficiency, whilst improving their environmental and social impact.
So what constitutes modern slavery you may ask? With around 36 million enslaved people worldwide, modern slavery presents itself in a variety of different ways; forced labour, delayed payment, bonded labour, poor working and living conditions, withholding of passports and many more. Failure to address modern slavery supply chain risk can lead to reputational, financial, and strategic damage.
We must put to rest the conception that modern slavery is something that only occurs in places such as the Middle East or Asia. Modern slavery is rife in Europe and the USA too. Described by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May as “the great human rights issue of our time”, surprisingly, in the UK, the second highest type of modern slavery is labour exploitation, following sexual exploitation. The 2015 Modern Slavery Act was created in order to tackle this widespread problem, imprisoning anyone who performs these malpractices. Additionally, a recent EU report in 2016 showed that 9 countries reported construction as the most problematic industry, with it being second on the list of economic sectors most prone to labour exploitation.
The construction sector is often made up of migrants who hope to earn more money for their families, or in the hope of a better future. Typically, contractors are unaware of the nefarious practices that are going on, thus the cycle continues. These workers are imprisoned within a series of events from which they can not escape; being exploited and struggling to survive whilst trying to support their family. They often have no choice but to continue with the anguish. In order to combat these incidences and help to create a culture of transparency, it requires the assistance and proactiveness of governments, businesses and the media. This will ensure that people are aware of these things happening right under their noses and take a stand to ensure we put a stop to it.
To sign up and listen to the experts discuss modern slavery in the construction sector, sign up below for free to our webinar taking place this Thursday 19th January 4pm GMT (11am EST).
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