Ipswich stands in the front line against modern slavery – that is the message as the council signs the Co-operative Party’s Modern Slavery Charter. Local councillors were be joined by Suffolk Euro MP Alex Mayer as they pledge to ensure that exploitation has no place in council supply chains.
In August, there were three arrests in Ipswich relating to modern slavery, helping to protect some of the estimated 13,000 victims of slavery in the UK today. According to a recent report by the Council of Europe, slavery has increased in every Europe country. In the UK, labour exploitation has now overtaken sexual exploitation as the leading variety of human trafficking.
By signing the charter, Ipswich borough council has committed to train their procurement teams, challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders and report any contractors they feel may be of concern regarding slavery.
Cllr David Ellesmere said: “Modern Slavery is one of the great evils of our time and needs to be eradicated. It is only through the combined efforts of council-led programmes, the police and the local community that we can tackle such a horrific problem.”
Suffolk Labour MEP Alex Mayer added: “Congratulations to Ipswich borough council for becoming the first council in Suffolk to sign the charter. Slavery sounds like something from history but shockingly it still exists today in Suffolk. This is a dreadful crime that strips people of their dignity and freedom.
“Sadly the number of identified victims is increasing across Europe, so I welcome the hugely important lead that Ipswich council is taking on this issue. Modern-day slavery is something that is vital to bring out into the light, so people can spot the warning signs.”