International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has set out a plan to spend £40 million of government funding to tackle modern slavery in the UK’s supply chains.
Ahead of the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on Saturday, Mordaunt disclosed her plans to help over 500,000 people vulnerable to modern slavery in the UK, The Independent reported.
“Without action, the results of the modern slavery industry will continue to stare us in the face as we walk down British high streets,” she said.
“It is possible that the clothes we wear, the electronics we use and the food we eat could be the product of child and forced labour, and this undermines legitimate businesses and economic development which are lifting thousands of people out of poverty.”
According to research from the Ethical Trading Initiative, 77 per cent of companies surveyed in the UK thought there was a likelihood of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains.
Asda, Ikea, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Tesco were among the retailers happy to be named as participants in the research.
In the new plans, £13 million will go towards tackling forced labour among female migrant workers in South Asia, focusing on those forced to work in garment factories.
Meanwhile, £20 million has been set aside for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery and used to target problem sectors like the garment industry, while a further £7 million will go towards supporting the victims of modern slavery, raising awareness in key countries.