• Co-Op to help victims of modern slavery

    Grocery giant Co-Op has announced a scheme offering jobs to people affected by forced labour.

    The retailer will offer those affected a four-week work placement within its food business.

    The initiative aims to help an estimated 13,000 survivors of forced labour, domestic solitude and sexual exploitation, supported by charity City Hearts.

    A ‘matching system’ will also be created that will put other companies together with local charities to provide those affected with work.

    Discussing the initiative, Co-Op deputy chief executive Pippa Wicks said: “This heinous crime will only be stopped by Government, businesses and society working together.

    “By creating employment opportunities we can ensure victims stay out of the evil clutches of their captors.

    “Working with City Hearts we are creating a matching scheme that will put charities, in any part of the UK, in touch with employers that are willing to support victims of modern slavery find the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides.

    “We appreciate our approach, which has been successful in our food business, is not the only way to create jobs for those rescued and I am sure with determination, joint working and innovative thinking, we can find further solutions that work across other sectors.”

    The move has been supported by the head of the Government’s work and pensions select committee, Frank Field.

    “Modern slavery is the biggest injustice in the world today,” commented Field.

    “Now that the Modern Slavery Act is on the statute book, the Co-op has set the pace on helping victims of slavery to begin to rebuild their lives through work.

    “These efforts by the Co-op must not be underestimated and hopefully will quickly become industry policy.”

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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