Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Training as a First Step to Change

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It was estimated that in 2021 on any given day, there were around 50 million victims of modern slavery worldwide.  With such a salient and pressing issue facing both the supply chains of the private and public sectors, awareness of the issue and how to combat it is crucial if meaningful impact and change is to be accomplished.

It’s not likely one will act on something they may not care about, and it’s certainly impossible to act on something one doesn’t know exists.  In my time doing human rights related consultancy work, I’ve found that training is often the most effective way of driving awareness and inspiring action.  That’s why I believe that bespoke training and awareness-raising is the critical first step when it comes to driving organisational change and empowering staff with practical steps.

Just this last September, I conducted a bespoke Modern Slavery Awareness Session that was made to not only raise awareness of the issue and its prevalence, but specifically how modern slavery and human trafficking can be prevented within the procurement function.  Along these themes, we discussed a variety of case studies from which we were able to glean actionable steps for how to mitigate modern slavery and human trafficking risk in the business.

The Impacts and Learnings of the Training

Part of the importance of training is not just the content itself, but also being able to evaluate impact to improve the approach.  Based on survey responses, this training was incredibly impactful, as can be demonstrated by trainees reporting a:

  • 40% increase in understanding of MSHT.
  • 61% increase in feeling equipped to spot exploitation.

We also found that key tools and bespoke aspects of the training increased the impact and learning, such as:

  • Up-to-date and role-specific case studies.
  • Making links to wider sustainability issues like social inequality and climate change.
  • Workshop-style engagement through questions and discussion among participants.

Based on the amalgamated survey responses, the participants felt that the key things they took away were:

  • The severity of modern slavery and human trafficking and that it must not be overlooked.
  • How modern slavery and human trafficking is relevant to their job roles.
  • The types of process steps that could be taken to detect modern slavery and human trafficking in procurement.

Of particular emphasis across responses was the interest for future learnings, specifically around how to analyse supply chains and suppliers for modern slavery and human trafficking risks for prevention.  This is telling of the current landscape, as supply chains are highly complex and interconnected, which makes mapping of risk very difficult.

Value Match’s Approach to Sustainability

Bespoke training for specific issues, such as human rights, is crucial to gaining buy-in from staff and making a difference.  However, it is but one component of an organisation’s wider sustainability strategy.  Using the Social Impact & Improvement Model (SIIM), our Sustainability, Diveristy & Social Impact (SDSI) team support small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) identify gaps and improvements in their sustainability strategy to help them win contracts within the public sector.  There’s not a lot of support out there for SMEs, but we at Value Match are determined to change that.