International Women's Day 2020

Posted by Kate Garbers on the 27th February 2020 in Unseen, Slavery, Human Trafficking, Ethical consumerism

#EachForEqual

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It serves as a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The theme this year is #EachForEqual, drawing from a notion of 'Collective Individualism', nodding to the fact that whilst we are all unique and different as individuals, we are also all part of a whole.

Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets have an impact on our larger society. Individually, we're all responsible for our own actions and we can choose to challenge the norm and improve situations for others. Collectively, we can make change happen. We can help to create a better, more equal world.

For over a decade, I have been part of Unseen - an organisation that has been fighting for a world without slavery. Globally, women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for 70 percent of global human trafficking victims, according to the United Nations.

Modern migration flows mean that a large number of vulnerable people end up being exploited in the global supply chains in the agriculture, beauty, fashion and sex industries. Many of the products we take for granted, including mobile phones, computers and cars; as well as clothes, cosmetics and even food, are produced using raw materials extracted by people living in a state of slavery.

As part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 193 countries pledged their commitment to take effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030. This means we must free 9,000 people from slavery every single day. In order to see slavery cease, we need to create an equal world. We can all collectively be part of this change. In fact, we will have to be if we are to see our sisters truly free from exploitation.

You can be involved in this fight. This international Women’s Day, we are asking you to make pledges at home and at work to help free the millions of exploited women and girls.

Here’s how you can help:

At home:

  1. Use Slavery Footprint to find out how many slaves work for you. Once you know where your biggest slavery footprint is, you can make some changes in the products and services you buy to reduce your impact on those who are at risk of exploitation and slavery.
  2. Reduce, reuse and upcycle. The demand for new fashion and technology at cheap prices is a driving force behind forced labour. Reduce your consumption and reuse what you have, it’s better for both the workers and the environment.
  3. Stay informed about modern slavery - Follow @UnseenUK on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date.

At work:

  1. With a huge proportion of modern slavery happening in global supply chains, its important for businesses to know where their risks are so they can mitigate any potential cases of modern slavery. We have been sharing business tips on our LinkedIn page to help you get started, including recruitment, mapping your supply chains and your modern slavery policies.
  2. Learn to spot the signs of modern slavery. Often, victims are not in a position to ask for help, because of fear and language barriers. The difference between continued exploitation and freedom could be you learning to spots the signs. Ensure you are aware of the indicators of modern slavery and who in your organisation may be more vulnerable to the tactics of traffickers.
  3. If you think someone may be a potential victim of modern slavery, report it to the National Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. Even if you’re not completely sure, it’s better to report it and be wrong, than to not report it and a victim remain in exploitation. The Helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is free to call, and you can remain anonymous if you wish to do so.
  4. Contact Carrie in the Unseen Business Partnerships Team on c.brassley@unseenuk.org if you would like to discuss partnering with Unseen.

If you'd like to show your support to the fight against modern slavery, please do so by setting up a regular or one-off donation. Thank you.