As part of its preventative work to educate regarding the issues of modern slavery and equip all employees with the knowledge of how to spot the signs of modern slavery and also how to report safely, Marshalls appointed it’s first two Modern Slavery Ambassadors within the business at the end of last year. The first of these was Karen Preiss, Category Manager and a key member of the procurement team, the second, Dave Jessop, Operations Manager for The Marshalls Register.
Elaine Mitchel-Hill, Business & Human Rights Lead, is responsible for the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act across the Group. She says, “The role of the Modern Slavery Ambassadors is absolutely key to helping ensure that all employees are informed about the signs of modern slavery and that any valuable intelligence from within the organisation and also from the upstream and downstream supply chain, and indeed our communities, is shared with the police, the Gangmasters Licensing & Labour Abuse Authority and our anti-slavery partner Hope for Justice. The Modern Slavery Ambassadors are the people who are spreading the word, educating, supporting and guiding.”
Category Manager, Karen Preiss, added, “Recent training delivered by Hope for Justice to the entire group procurement function had a big impact. It’s ensured that we’re all on the same page in terms of understanding the organized crime which drives human trafficking and makes all organisation and supply chains susceptible. It has enabled us to identify areas of risk and also, importantly, to understand the impact on the individuals who are vulnerable and exploited.”
Richard Beale, Marshalls Global Supply Chain Director, said, “This proactive preventative approach driven by our modern slavery ambassadors is the best way to inspire confidence in our workforce and minimise risk to our brand. Together with Hope for Justice we have developed a supplier education programme focusing on the elimination of modern slavery. We’re currently piloting this with our temporary labour provider here in the UK and the early signs are very positive. This is part of a wider programme of activity from a procurement perspective which will send a clear message to all of our suppliers and partners about what we value, how we work and what is and isn’t acceptable to us. Both myself and my procurement team are working closely with our Business & Human Rights Lead who’s responsible for the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act throughout the business and supply chains.”
Dave Jessop, Operations Manager responsible for Marshalls registered installers who install driveways and patios for domestic customers, recently spoke with over 230 installer’s at a series of 14 roadshows in January throughout the UK. He says, “Highlighting the reasons that individuals get trafficked, the vulnerability which exists, the coercion which takes place and the organized crime which drives it was an eye opener for many. They are now aware of the signs of modern slavery, how to report it safely and know that I’m there to assist should they have any questions or queries at all. Through the training that I’ve had with our anti-slavery partner, Hope for Justice, I totally understand that modern slavery is much closer than you think. It’s often in plain sight.”
Hope for Justice staff have backgrounds in criminal investigation and public protection and the award-winning expert teams operate out of highly successful Regional Investigative Hubs to provide proactive services to businesses partners. Hope for Justice experienced team are also geared-up to respond where potential victims are identified within business operations or supply chain.
Mitchel-Hill concluded, “Marshalls Modern Slavery Ambassadors will grow in numbers throughout 2017 and will be spread across our UK operations. Their role is fundamental to our ability to support the Anti-Slavery Commission, Kevin Hyland, in his drive to eradicate modern slavery and to ensure that through preventative education we do not become corporate victims of the perpetrators of human trafficking and slavery.”