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Retailers aiming to end exploitation in food industry

Retailers aiming to end exploitation in food industry

Five of the UK's top retailers, including Tesco and Sainsbury's have announced that they have given their backing to end the exploitation of employees within food production, retail and horticulture, in a campaign named Stronger Together.

The initiative is the result of action taken by the Association of Labour Providers, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), as well as the Migrant Help.

It aims to give employers across the country with the knowledge needed to identify the signs of what some have referred to "modern day slavery".

The campaign will mainly be run through the use of guidance, posters and leaflets, while there will also be a series of interactive workshops available across the UK to give those within the industry an extra helping hand in tackling the exploitation of workers.

Other retailers to lend their support to the project include Waitrose, the Cooperative Group and Marks & Spencer, and it is also backed by trade body the Food and Drink Federation.

It is hoped that such support will help to solve a problem that many believe has not been adequately addressed by the industry.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), 29 per cent of the cases in 2012 reported to the Human Trafficking Centre were in the food processing and agricultural sectors.

Director general Helen Dickinson said: "The Stronger Together project is a shining example of organisations across the UK food industry teaming up to tackle human trafficking and forced labour.

“UK retailers are committed to addressing the issue through joint working with the GLA, law enforcement agencies and farmers; there is no place for exploitation in our supply chains.”

GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent said: “Stronger Together will help us to work more closely with industry to prevent exploitation by the early identification of the signs that a worker or workers are being abused so that criminals can be exposed and dealt with by the GLA.”

Recent cases where the GLA has identified examples of exploitation include a prosecution back in July of six people back in Derbyshire suspected of being involved in the trafficking of staff to flower packers and meat processors.

 

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