SMALL businesses across Staffordshire are being encouraged to be more vigilant in the ongoing fight against Modern Day Slavery – following recent arrests made in the County.
The Office of the Police and Crime in Staffordshire has commissioned Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce to support the fight and encourage businesses to pledge to the OPCC’s awareness campaign.
Currently, only businesses with a turnover exceeding £36m are required by law to ensure their supply chain is free from slavery, but all organisations can play their part, no matter how large or small.
Now, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, are working with the OPCC to encourage small businesses to sign a pledge to eradicate Modern Day Slavery within their workforce and supply chains.
The announcement comes on the back of a high profile case in the East of the County where two women and a man were found guilty of human trafficking offences after forcing young Vietnamese women to work in nail bars across the country, including Burton.
The Chamber will be working with the Voice of Hope, an organisation supported by the OPCC, to deliver training and awareness across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, taking a stand against the crime.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said: ‘I know that businesses across the area are passionate about eradicating this kind of crime but awareness is the key to tackling it.
‘No matter how big or small, all businesses need to be aware of this crime and the role they play.
‘Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce will help ensure companies sign up to the pledge to eradicate this despicable crime – signposting them to the relevant skills to detect and address slavery in their supply chains.
‘Having the chamber on board enables us to get to the heart of the business community within the area and give them the skills to recognise their responsibilities.’
Staffordshire’s Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Sara Williams, said: ‘We are proud to be working on this important project. Modern slavery and human trafficking are abhorrent crimes that can often go unseen, and we encourage businesses of all sizes to sign up for the training, adopt the pledge and play a part in tackling this problem.
‘Ethical business is good business, and at the Chambers we are making sure that the vital role local firms play in our communities is recognised and understood.’
More than 70 delegates from across the area, attended the first of many awareness courses at the Bridge Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.
Organiser Ann Graiger, from Voice of Hope, said: ‘As an organisation, we want to reach out to as many organisations as possible to raise awareness of the plight so many face.
‘We are stronger together and recognising the signs of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery can only strengthen our ability to stop these horrible crimes.’
Any businesses wishing to sign our pledge can download it at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/modern-slavery/
Slavery is closer than you think. It happens all over the world including the UK. Find out more at www.modernslavery.co.uk or call the helpline on 0800 0121 700.