Last night, North Warwickshire Borough Council, almost unanimously passed a motion to tackle Modern Day Slavery, developed with the Co-Operative Party.
Put forward by the opposition Labour Group, a compromise was reached with Conservative Councillors to pass a motion that will see further action taken to tackle a growing issue in rural Warwickshire.
Councillor Adam Farrell told the meeting;
“Slavery was made illegal in Britain by the Slave Trade Act of 1807 but over 200 years later, slavery in Britain remains not only in existence but is a growing problem, impacting on an estimated 13,000 people, each year.
“Modern Day Slavery is sexual exploitation, its domestic servitude, its forced Labour, its criminal exploitation, its forced begging, it’s a complete multitude of things that are hard to detect and difficult to police.
“Warwickshire Police has seen the number of modern-day slavery cases nearly double to 70 in the last 12 months and that’s up from just 4 reported cases in 2015.
“This is a growing problem and today, this Council has the opportunity to play its part in seeking to tackle the issue. Because this motion is about a culture change more than anything else. It’s a political declaration of support for victims of this horrific crime and it’s a public message that this Council takes ending modern day slavery seriously.
“This motion is a simple and low-cost way of playing our part in tackling modern day slavery across our procurement processes and contracts.”
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Adam Farrell said;
“I’m glad Conservative Councillors almost unanimously backed our compromise motion. This isn’t as far as we wanted it to go but it’s a good start and it shows the Council can work together when required. It’s just disappointing one Conservative Councillor voted against the motion and didn’t seem to want to take action to tackle Modern Day Slavery.”
A copy of the motion agreed by Council can be found below.
This council notes
- Though slavery was abolished in the UK in 1833, there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggest that there are more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world, with nearly 25 million held in forced labour.
- There were 3805 victims of modern slavery identified in the UK in 2016. A rising number but still well below the 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims estimated by the Home Office.
- Modern Slavery is happening nationwide. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive
and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.
This council believes
- That action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK.
- That councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies don’t contribute to modern day slavery and exploitation.
This council resolves
In principle to adopt the Co-operative Party’s Charter against Modern Slavery to ensure our procurement practices don’t support slavery and that a report be considered by the Council’s Executive Board on the practical steps that need to be taken to implement the key issues raised in the Charter.