University of Manchester becomes first higher education institution to join Slave-Free Alliance

As part of its commitment to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, The University of Manchester has become the first higher education institution to become a member of Slave-Free Alliance.

Raising awareness on the issues of human trafficking and forced labour is a key part of the University’s work to promote responsible procurement.

Slave-Free Alliance is part of Hope for Justice, a Manchester-based charity which exists to bring an end to modern slavery by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society.

By joining Slave-Free Alliance the University has joined a global movement, demonstrating commitment to raising awareness of modern slavery and working to promote a zero tolerance approach to the practice in its supply chains.

A key benefit of joining Slave-Free Alliance is to independently review, benchmark and develop responsible University systems and processes to combat modern slavery.

As a University with social responsibility as a core goal, joining Slave-Free Alliance helps bolster our existing approach in this important area,” said Director of Finance Steve Dauncey. “The opportunity to join a Manchester-based charity that puts victims first by removing them from situations of exploitation, and also working to prevent individuals from becoming enslaved, is a great fit for us. The potential to engage more widely with our staff and students on this issue is very significant.”

Ben Cooley, CEO of Slave-Free Alliance and Hope for Justice, said: “We are thrilled to see The University of Manchester becoming the first higher education institution to join Slave-Free Alliance, and we hope this will encourage the rest of the sector to take notice and take action. It is a clear sign of the University’s commitment to working towards a slave-free supply chain, helping ensure that the products it buys and the services it uses have not been tainted by the barbaric crime of human trafficking for forced labour. We look forward to working closely with the University over the coming months to further develop this partnership.”

About The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK’s largest single-site university with 39,700 students and is consistently ranked among the world’s elite for graduate employability.

The University is also one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’ (REF 2014). World-class research is carried out across a diverse range of fields including cancer, advanced materials, addressing global inequalities, energy and industrial biotechnology. No fewer than 25 Nobel laureates have either worked or studied at the University.

It is the only UK university to have social responsibility among its core strategic objectives, with staff and students alike dedicated to making a positive difference in communities around the world.

Manchester is ranked 38th in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 and 6th in the UK. The University had an annual income of almost £1 billion in 2015/16. Visit www.manchester.ac.uk for further information.

About Slave-Free Alliance

Slave-Free Alliance is a social enterprise launched by anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice to support organisations in working towards a slave-free supply chain. Membership of Slave-Free Alliance is open to all organisations, including those from the public sector and voluntary sector. As we are a social enterprise wholly owned by Hope for Justice, all profits made are reinvested into charitable anti-slavery projects around the world.

A wide variety of economic sectors are represented among our membership, including: business and professional services, engineering, data analysis and IT, utilities and energy, environmental services, food manufacturing, agriculture, insurance, legal, pharmaceutical, property services, recruitment, retail, transport and waste management, and, with the addition of The University of Manchester, higher education.

Membership includes global multinationals, household names like Aviva, Dixons Carphone, Clarks and Arriva, as well as SMEs with only a few employees, all sharing a common goal: to work towards a slave-free supply chain.

Slave-Free Alliance is the business sector’s acknowledgement that slavery in supply chains is real and a key factor driving human trafficking in the developing world and across borders to countries like the UK. It can affect any unprepared organisation, no matter their sector, though some industries are at particular risk – notably waste and recycling, agriculture, low-skilled manufacturing, hand car washes, beauty salons and the hospitality, catering and restaurant sector.

With surveys showing that 77% of organisations think there is a likelihood of finding modern slavery in their operations or supply chains, membership of Slave-Free Alliance is a simple way for employers to get the answers and support they need to combat this growing threat.

For more information visit www.slavefreealliance.org