Did you know that the International Labour Organisation estimates that currently there are more than 40 million people in slavery? Think about that. 40 million people working against their will around the world. Most are forced to work under threat or coercion – and the majority of these slave tactics are found in supply chains of businesses – large and small – producing products that each of us use every day.

Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 calls on us to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and eliminate child labour in all its forms by 2025. So, what can we do? The UK has passed the Modern Slavery Act, which creates some progress, but more needs to be done. The Modern Slavery Act, which was enacted in 2015 creates greater transparency in supply chains by requiring companies to publish annually a statement declaring that they are taking action to abolish slavery from within their supply chains.  Similarly, the US has enacted a law that allows for compensation for victims of slavery. But still, more needs to be done.

Western governments have taken a few steps in the right direction with the regulations enacted, but whether these laws are strong enough and whether they are enforced well enough is up for debate. Furthermore, while many businesses are working to do the right thing – not just within this legislation, but because it is also the right thing to do – even business could do more. They can work with the governments, they can collaborate with one another, with third party NGOs, and they can educate their consumers about the reality of the situation.

There are many examples of NGOs and businesses going above and beyond what is required under the Modern Slavery Act, but nevertheless more is needed from each of us. Today in the UK, the 18th of October, we recognise the plight of slaves in recognition of #AntiSlaveryDay and it is important to recognise a few of the organisations that are focused solely on helping save those who are held captive.

One particular organisation is Operation Underground Railroad. OUR is focused on extraction operations and anti-child trafficking efforts to bring an end to child slavery as well as rehabilitation and recovery efforts for those rescued. To learn more about OUR or to help fund a mission, click here: https://ourrescue.org/

Slavery is not just an issue in remote, third-world countries. It is taking place in your back yard – in the UK alone we have reports almost on a weekly basis about modern slavery, and in the US there is no shortage of slavery, either. Let’s work together to put an end to forced labour of all – men, women and above all, children.

More on modern slavery and how to report it: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-report-modern-slavery/how-to-report-modern-slavery