Stop The Traffik (STT), a global activist group dedicated to the prevention of human trafficking, is calling for an amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill, which was introduced to the House of Commons on 10 June 2014.
The Modern Slavery Bill would provide stronger resources to detect, punish, and prevent the spread of modern slavery. The bill includes proposals to ensure perpetrators receive suitably severe punishments and to close gaps in the law to enable the police and Border Force to stop boats where slaves are suspected of being trafficked.
But STT is calling on its members and the general public to demand an amendment to the bill. The draft contains no measures to address business supply chains, which would require large businesses to report on human trafficking and slavery within each stage of production.
STT is urging MPs to support an amendment of the Companies Act that would include supply chain legislation within the bill. This would make retailers obliged to detect human trafficking within their production line, making it easier to provide relief to the millions of workers who are exploited within industries every day.
The UK Coordinator for STT, Heather Knight, said, ‘One year after the Rana Plaza disaster, the government looks set to be turning its back on the 21 million exploited people who generate the yearly 150 billion USD illegal profits estimated by the International Labour Organisation.’
‘The government imposes supply chain integrity for tobacco, hardwood, ivory and pharmaceutical businesses. Why not for the treatment of people?’
The initiative to amend the bill shares common goals with STT’s ‘Make Fashion Traffik-Free’ campaign. It encourages fashion retailers and large consumer brands to investigate the source of their materials. Many retailers do not know where their materials come from, or choose not to make this information public.
As part of the campaign, consumers can take an official STT information postcard into their favourite retailer, write to local MPs or publicise, circulate and promote the ‘Make Fashion Traffik-Free’ Protocol booklet via social media and throughout local communities.
Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STT said, ‘Cotton made by trafficked young women and girls may be in the t-shirt I am wearing today. It may be in the clothes in your wardrobe at home, but at the moment we just don’t know.’
Dearnley continued, ‘As consumers we have a powerful voice, we can use it to urge companies to change their behaviour so that they can tell us that the clothes we are buying are Traffik-Free.’
The Liverpool branch of STT was set up by Brenda Garner in January 2009. Since then, the group has raised awareness with school children, students, taxi drivers, hotel staff, NHS and housing professionals.
STT Liverpool’s campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking amongst taxi drivers was born out of a conversation between a driver and a local STT volunteer, and it has since been accepted as a national campaign at STT’s head office.
Brenda said, ‘We want people to know the signs and what to do if they suspect anything, so that our city region becomes a hostile place for traffickers to hide their victims.’
For more information about STT, visit stopthetraffik.org
Watch STT’s ‘Are you a #fashionvictim?’ video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ1Wy5E36BQ#t=11