At the start of 2023, the North West Construction Hub made the strategic decision to establish a Modern Slavery special interest group. This initiative stemmed from extensive dialogue with contractors and clients, who identified modern slavery as not only a key industry topic, but an ethical imperative.
The group reflects a collective commitment by the North West Construction Hub and our Contractor Partners to addressing and preventing modern slavery within the UK construction sector.
What is Modern Slavery?
Modern slavery is an umbrella term that includes offences of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Modern slavery is a real and present issue, affecting millions of individuals worldwide, and in the UK. A UN report from September 2022 estimates that 50 million people globally are living in modern slavery, 28 million of which are in forced labour.
How does it affect the Construction industry?
Construction is one of the most afflicted industries, accounting for 18% of modern slavery worldwide, coming second only to domestic work (24%). The Construction and the Modern Slavery Act (2018) brought much awareness of the issue of modern slavery In the British construction sector, and it is essential that clients and contractors are able to deal with the issue in an informed manner.
As Kevin Hyland OBE summarises, in his foreword to to Construction and the Modern Slavery Act, ‘Intelligent companies will not shy away from these [uncomfortable truths], recognising instead that tackling slavery is not only a moral necessity but also good business sense.’
Local governments, and those who manage supply chains have a duty to ensure modern slavery risks are identified and managed effectively. The North West Construction Hub have engaged with experts from across the industry, to identify and share best practice.
For further information on how NWCH have tackled modern slavery, please visit: Modern Slavery – NWCH takes action document