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University launches anti-slavery programme for businesses


A new programme to help businesses tackle labour exploitation is being launched today by the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute.

The training, which helps organisations identify and eliminate slavery practices that may be lying hidden in their business operations, is introduced ahead of Anti-Slavery Day – a national day held in recognition of the need to eradicate all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation. 


Cristina Talens, Director of Modern Slavery Risk Assessments at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute, said:

 “It’s shocking to think that many of us are unwittingly coming into contact with slavery on a daily basis. The areas of our lives tainted by practices such as forced labour, labour exploitation and human trafficking are many and include the hospitality, domestic, beauty and construction industries to name a few. Forced labour is prevalent within the private economy, lying hidden within the complex supply chains that produce many of our household goods and services.

“Under the Modern Slavery Act, bigger businesses in the UK have a legal obligation to report on how they are addressing modern slavery in their global supply chains. But, with an estimated 25 million people trapped in forced labour across the world according to the International Labour Organisation, all companies have a moral responsibility to eliminate slavery practices from their business operations.”

The business training forms part of the Wilberforce Institute’s It’s Time to Break the Chain initiative which highlights the plight of the millions of people trapped in forced labour across the world and influences companies across all sectors to tackle slavery practices in their supply chains.

The training has been developed by specialists at the Institute who carry out slavery risk assessments for major UK companies. Based on intelligence gathered from the Institute’s global research into exploitative labour practices, the programme provides much-needed guidance for businesses to help them improve their reporting and monitoring of modern slavery.

Completing the training provides businesses with an understanding of how modern-day slavery manifests and the human rights risks that commonly exist within supply chains. With access to practical tools and example case studies, businesses are guided towards developing solutions to eliminate these practices.

Cristina added:

“The Modern Slavery Act was introduced in response to growing pressure to address modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking in the country. It’s encouraging that compliance with the legislation is steadily increasing. But little remains in place to assist those businesses who want and need to dig deeper into their supply chains to remove labour exploitation from within their processes.

“These practices can be difficult for companies to identify, often lying hidden within sophisticated supply chains. In an increasingly global market place, the complexity and pace involved in today’s supply chains combine to create an environment where unscrupulous labour providers can often thrive.

“This training helps businesses build awareness and vigilance around this most-pressing human rights issue.”


Register here for our Modern Slavery Training programme.

Find out more about the Wilberforce Institute’s Break the Chain initiative and the issue of forced labour at


“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know” 

William Wilberforce MP

One of Hull’s most famous sons, Wilberforce dedicated most of his life to the movement that led to the abolition of the British slave trade over 200 years ago. One of the world’s leading research centres working towards the end of labour exploitation and slavery worldwide, the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, continues to pioneer the fight for freedom.



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