Modern slavery and human trafficking statement 2020-21

Foreword

Modern slavery is one of the most widespread crimes in the world.

These crimes are abhorrent, but to make things worse, they can often be happening all around us, in our communities, and right under our noses.

In Hammersmith & Fulham, compassion is at the heart of everything we do and we are determined to play our part in eradicating modern slavery – whether it’s happening within our borough or elsewhere.

Like all modern businesses, when we’re buying goods and services we have a moral responsibility to ensure that the services and suppliers we’re using aren’t involved in exploiting vulnerable people.

This can often be difficult because of complex supply chains – which means it’s imperative we know exactly where our goods and services come from.

To make sure we’re doing that, we have signed the Charter Against Modern Slavery and made a commitment to its cause. What follows is the council’s first Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement. It sets out our plan for eradicating modern slavery in H&F.

Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader

Introduction

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is committed to tackling modern slavery and human trafficking in all its forms and takes its role in this very seriously.

The council has signed the ‘Charter Against Modern Slavery’ and pledged to report on its work to tackle modern slavery in its supply chains annually.

This is the first Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement to be published by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and covers 2020-2021. It documents the council’s progress in delivering against each of the commitments in the Charter.

This is one aspect of a suite of ongoing initiatives to tackle modern slavery across the borough.

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is an umbrella term, encompassing human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced labour.  

It is one of the most widespread crimes in the world and comes in many forms. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Domestic servitude
  • Forced labour
  • Forced criminality
  • Organ harvesting
  • Forced/sham marriage.

Victims can be any age, gender or race, but are often taken advantage of due to their vulnerability. This is a serious crime in direct violation of an individual’s human rights.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is part of the Government’s commitment to addressing the global issue of modern slavery.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Commitment

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is committed to:

  • identifying, referring and supporting victims of modern slavery and human trafficking
  • understanding potential modern slavery risks relating to our services
  • ensuring these offences are not committed through the delivery of our services or as part of supply chains

As the council is involved in a wide range of aspects of the local community, our officers are well placed to identify and respond to cases of modern slavery. Officers in areas such as housing and homelessness, trading standards, licensing, procurement and contract management, social services, community safety and customer services may come across victims.

Our progress so far

1, Established a multi-agency partnership.

  • Multi-agency anonymous data sharing to develop an intelligence picture of exploitation in the borough
  • Developing a child exploitation protocol

2, Delivered proactive campaigns, including:

  • Referral pathways
  • Regular training

3, Developed a modern slavery strategy.

  • Dedicated member of staff specialising in modern slavery through a partnership with STOP THE TRAFFIK.

4, Developed a coordinated community response to ending modern slavery in the borough, focusing on:

  • Identifying victims
  • Supporting victims
  • Bringing exploiters to justice
  • Preventing exploitation (this statement supports this as, as an employer and commissioner, the council have a responsibility to ensure we procure within our values).

Our challenges

  1. Keeping our young people safe from criminal exploitation. We will continue our proactive multi-agency approach working with communities and schools.
  2. Victims of modern slavery being recruited or exploited in the borough for forced criminality (including county lines), forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. 
  3. Modern slavery concerns within houses of multiple occupation and special licensed premises and supporting victims to disclose. This requires a multi-agency and long-term approach.
  4. Ensuring modern slavery offences do not take place within complex supply chains and supporting supply chain transparency. The actions from the charter will help to address these challenges.

The Charter Against Modern Slavery

The council recognises its responsibilities relating to human rights and modern slavery in the procurement of goods and services. The council made a clear commitment in relation to this by signing the ‘Charter Against Modern Slavery’.

By signing this charter, the council has committed to:

  1. Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.
  2. Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.
  3. Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.
  4. Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.
  5. Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
  6. Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
  7. Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.
  8. Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.
  9. Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.
  10. Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has an annual third party spend of approximately £260m each year. 

All types of labour, within every industry, are susceptible to labour exploitation. However, certain industries have been identified as potentially at higher risk.

The council should be attentive to modern slavery risks across all its services.

However, areas which may be at higher risk include:

  • Facilities management
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Construction
  • Catering
  • Community social care
  • Waste collection
  • Customer contact centres
Support services and referral agencies

For the full version of the modern slavery statement, please contact

Community safety unit
020 8753 2816
csu@lbhf.gov.uk