The rescue of two Romanian trafficking victims, reported in the news today, makes for a heart-warming read when there are so many upsetting stories in the news at the moment.
The couple was rescued by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) after investigators found them sleeping rough inside a London Underground station.
The GLAA, supporting services and friends' networks all came together to protect the couple and to swiftly find a remedy for their needs, and to secure them legitimate full-time jobs and accommodation.
Of course, things should never have got to this point, but it's great that in UK we have a safety net, with GLAA and their licensed recruitment agencies and ethical growers all collaborating and acting responsibly.
But other countries don’t have a GLAA. And companies need to be alert to the greater responsibilities they carry within their overseas operations and supply chains. Companies might also consider an advocacy strategy to encourage foreign States to themselves take the sort of effective and responsible action that the UK Government has taken here. This would then reduce the risks of exploitation being found in company supply chains.
ETI recognises that companies alone cannot solve many of the issues related to trafficking and worker exploitation and that the State must play its part. ETI is happy to discuss with its members where an influencing and advocacy approach in their supply chains is needed to get better state provisions in place. Members should please contact us if you want to explore this further.