Shining a light on slavery on International Women’s Day with Anti-Slavery International

Shinning a light on slavery on International Women’s Day with Anti-Slavery International

Image courtesy of Anti-Slavery International

40.3 million people living in slavery

Women and girls account for 71 per cent these

That’s one in every 130 women around the world

One in every 130 women around the world are in some form of slavery – I could not believe these figures – they are truly shocking – especially in this day and age!

These were some of areas that Jasmine O’Connor OBE, CEO from Anti-Slavery International focused on last week for International Woman’s Day at the CIPS Fellows monthly event.
It is particularly relevant to CIPS and all who work in any form of procurement for any organisation as supply chains are an area where women can be invisible and be trapped in modern slavery.
Sadly, slavery did not end when the transatlantic slave trade was abolished, we still have 40.3 million people in slavery today with one in four of those people are children.

What we mean by slavery is where someone is 

• Forced to work by coercion or mental or physical threat

• Owned or controlled by an ’employer’ - mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse

• Dehumanised - treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’

• Physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

In terms of modern slavery, we are looking at: forced and compulsory labour, human trafficking, worst forms of child labour, bonded labour (debt bondage), forced marriage and descent-based slavery.

Jasmine went onto look at 2 of the lesser talked about and less known forms of slavery that are still commonplace around the world:

Descent-based slavery

Moulkheir story was harrowing, born into a slave family in Mauritania then working as a slave, rarely had enough to eat, regularly beaten and then sent to another home into a forced marriage. Her treatment and that of her daughters was shocking but her brother managed to get word to Anti-Slavery International’s partner in Mauritania, who rescued them and helped them build a livelihood and a future.

Read more about Moulkheir’s story here

Bonded slavery 


Image courtesy of Anti-Slavery International

Bindu and her family, along with three other families, became trapped in bonded labour after accepting a loan from an agent who moved them to a brick factory in Punjab for the brick-making season. They were lied to, the accommodation was squalid, there were no toilets or fresh running water – and there was no chance to earn enough to ever pay back the debt. There were daily threats and violence, the workers started to get sick, for Bindu’s brother-in-law it ended tragically – he became ill with fever and, without any treatment, died soon after. Bindi came across Anti–Slavery International’s partner’s helpline who reported the kiln owner to the local authority, but Bindi was the only one who had the courage to make a stand and make a statement.  They were rescued, the workers received formal bonded labour release certificates, compensation, and were assisted to return home to start of life of freedom.

Read more about Bindi’s story here

And more stories from those who have managed to find freedom here

And unfortunately, the pandemic has made things even worse

For those who are enslaved, or vulnerable, self-isolation is not possible, or it leads to unemployment and destitution and in turn rocketing unemployment may then lead many into forms of slavery for survival. Where there is discrimination, for example in low-caste or slave communities, they become further marginalised as more exposed to the virus. And migrant workers are frequently too scared of authorities to seek healthcare when they fall sick, helping to spread the virus.

What you can do to help
Slavery is not an inevitable consequence of doing business in a global economy.
Anti-Slavery International’s extensive experience and specialist knowledge will help you to go beyond the legal minimum and to maximise your impact.
They can help you to engage every part of your business, including staff, suppliers, customers and shareholders, and to put into practice your commitment to helping end modern slavery.
Their sector-leading bespoke advisory services will help ensure your business is doing all it can to prevent modern slavery
• A wealth of information, resources and knowledge that will help you do business better
• Work with them to raise awareness across your staff and customers and demonstrating your commitment to being a leading ethical business.
• Insight and expert advice based on 180 years of experience,

We hope these stories will both inspire and make you want to know more, thereby giving hope to the possibility of you being part of driving change both personally and as an organisation.
IWD 2021 #ChooseToChallenge - Slavery is not an inevitable consequence of doing business in a global economy.

More about Anti-Slavery International
• Founded in 1839, we are the oldest international human rights organisation in the world.
• Today, we are the only UK-based charity exclusively working to eliminate all forms of slavery and slavery-like practices throughout the world
• We are not interested in quick fix solutions. Instead, we deal with the root causes of slavery and its consequences to achieve sustainable change.

More about CIPS Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply
CIPS, as the professional body for the procurement and supply profession, is using its global standard, network, education, expertise and charter for public good to ensure that procurement and supply chain management professionals have the capabilities and responsibility to deliver sustainability goals for their organisations.

About The Sourcing Team

The Sourcing Team is a global, ethical sourcing company - creating stand-out promotional products for some of the UK’s leading charities and commercial organisations. We have been at the forefront of working with our clients and suppliers to drive more sustainable solutions and this includes embracing new technology to enable new forms of cashless giving, engagement, communication and much more.

Our commitment to our industry is second to none: Gill is a Fellow of CIPS, Chartered status within the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, a Fellows Committee member and part of the Special Knowledge Group for Marketing and Procurement delivering forward-thinking knowledge events to leaders in procurement. Also, a Lifetime fellow of the British Promotional Merchandise Association, Past Chair, President and Board Member awarded Sword of Honour and Lifetime fellowship for dedication to the promotions industry. And finally, Gill’s work in building diversity and inclusion in business through her role in WEConnect here and abroad, Chair and Founder of the WBE Council helping to support and promote women-owned businesses.