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Modern Slavery is widespread in UK car washes

Manchester City Council is calling on the government to provide more support for the victims of modern slavery as it believes the support available is not sufficient and needs to go beyond what is currently offered.

There have been over 350 cases of modern slavery in car washes in the last two years. Over 2000 potential victims indicated, according to the report from Unseen, a modern slavery charity.

At least 48 cases involving 266 potential victims were in the Greater London area, making this the region with the highest number of cases reported with 13.3% of total cases.

At Manchester City Council, a ‘Charter against modern slavery’ was approved unanimously to raise awareness of modern slavery.

As part of the Greater Manchester week of action against modern slavery, the council has pledged to take measures to ensure its own procurement processes don’t contribute to modern slavery and exploitation.

It has pledged to publicise a robust whistle-blowing system for staff who suspect modern slavery and require its contractors to do the same.

Councillor Carl Ollerhead, executive member for finance said: “The exploitation of vulnerable people is unacceptable, and we will play our part in trying to protect people from a life of abuse, exploitation and inhuman treatment and ensure that the organisations we work with play their part as well.”

The council will report annually on the modern slavery policy.

Action plan

Manchester City Council will:

  1. Ensure its corporate procurement team is trained to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.
  2. Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.
  3. Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.
  4. Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not be treated unfairly for belonging to one.
  5. Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
  6. Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
  7. Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.
  8. Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.
  9. Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.
  10. Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.

TNT News

Photo Credit: Pexels

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