The Co-op welcomes the recent announcement by the National Crime Agency which highlights the severity of modern slavery cases 'in every large town and city' in the UK

10 August 2017

Paul Gerrard, Co-op's Policy and Campaigns Director, said:

“We welcome the recent announcement by the National Crime Agency which highlights the severity of modern slavery cases 'in every large town and city' in the UK.

“In the first employment programme of its kind, the Co-op and anti-trafficking charity CityHearts launched 'Bright Future' in March this year with plans to offer work to 30 trafficking victims by the end of 2017. So far, nine men and women have accepted jobs at the our Co-op stores or warehouses.

“It is the Co-op Way to campaign on contemporary social issues and that is why we are committed to adopting practical interventions to help reduce modern slavery as well as doing everything we can to raise awareness of the issue amongst our members, customers and suppliers.

“It is imperative that victims are supported in order to help them rebuild their lives and central to that is the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides. Without this, there is a real chance that they could fall back into the hands of those who have exploited them and for the terrible, unspeakable cycle of enslavement to begin again.

“Modern slavery will only be stopped by Government, businesses and society working together to ensure supply chains are transparent, so giving this shocking crime no shadow to hide in. British companies have a moral obligation to help victims and should go beyond what's legally required under the Modern Slavery Act . If we could offer these people work, it will allow them to reclaim their lives and that's the important thing, this should be about UK businesses stepping up and doing more to help victims of modern slavery."

Media Contact:

Sarah Dawson
Corporate PR Manager
Communications
0161 692 2468
07702506126
sarah.dawson2@coop.co.uk
coop.co.uk
@Coopukpress