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Shoppers to be able to view what firms are doing to end supply chain slavery | Politics News

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Theresa May is to announce a series of measures to build on the Modern Slavery Act and help protect people against forced labour, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Among the plans is a proposed central registry of modern slavery transparency statements so that consumers can see what companies are doing to eliminate abuse from their supply chains.

Speaking at the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation centenary conference in Geneva, Mrs May will also call on world leaders to to face up to their “moral duty” and take action to halt modern slavery.

She is expected to say: “No leader worthy of the name can look the other way while men, women and children are held against their will, forced to work for a pittance or no pay at all, routinely beaten, raped and tortured.

“So, those of us who can speak out, who have a platform from which to be heard, have a duty, a moral duty, to raise our voices on their behalf.”

Other proposals to be outlined by Mrs May include the creation of a new international modern slavery and migration envoy to help co-ordinate the UK’s work with other nations.

She also wants to see a £10m fund created to reduce the exploitation of children in Africa’s agricultural industries.

As home secretary in 2015 Mrs May oversaw the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act, the first of its kind in Europe.

A study last year by the by the Walk Free Foundation suggested there could be as many as two slaves for every 1,000 people in the UK – amounting to 136,000 victims across the country.

It also said British consumers could be unwittingly buying billions of pounds of goods made by people trapped in the slave trade in other countries.

The UK imports £14bn ($18bn) worth of goods each year which the foundation believed were at high risk of being made by slaves – including electronics like laptops and mobile phones, clothes, cocoa, sugarcane and even fish.

In her Geneva speech Mrs May will say: “Modern slavery reaches into every corner of our lives – in the clothes we
wear, the food we eat, the services we pay for.

“Yet for many years it seldom captured the world’s attention or outrage – allowing those who trade in human misery to quietly continue their work and allowing all of us to look the other way as we benefited from the forced labour of this growing underclass.

“Throughout my time in government – first as my country’s home secretary, more recently as its prime minister – I have fought to change that.”

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