UK bans NHS goods tied to slavery

The 2022 Health and Care Act bans NHS goods tied to forced labour following a campaign by the anti-trafficking community.

In a huge step forward in eradicating modern slavery in supply chains, the 2022 Health and Care Act bans the NHS from buying goods produced by forced labour.

This follows a campaign by anti-slavery and human rights organisations, including Unseen, which was led by the charity Arise.  

This legislation is the biggest step in removing forced labour from supply chains since the Modern Slavery Act of 2015.    

It comes after Britain bought billions of pounds of PPE protective health equipment during the Covid pandemic, some of which was allegedly made using forced labour from the Uyghur population in China. 

A big thanks to all Unseen’s supporters who make our work possible – and to those who signed the petition to include this forced labour amendment in the new act.  

Unseen supports businesses to understand the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains, and what to do about it. Find out more about our Business Services.


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Justine Currell

As I came to understand more about the issue, including through a visit to an Unseen safehouse, I knew I needed to do more to stop this abuse and exploitation.

For the last five years of my Civil Service career, I was the Modern Slavery Senior Policy Advisor in the Home Office and led on development of the Modern Slavery Act, including the transparency in supply chains provision and business guidance.

I joined Unseen to lead the development of the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline, and Unseen’s work with businesses. I am regularly called upon to present at national and international conferences and use my experience of working with Ministers to influence other governments internationally to take action to address modern slavery and, in particular, business supply chain issues.

In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit, music, reading and travelling.

Andrew Wallis

What ultimately compelled me to act was a report on how people from Eastern Europe were being trafficked through Bristol airport to the USA. Kate Garbers, who went on to be an Unseen Director, and I wrote to all the city councillors, MPs and the Police Chief Constable challenging them on the issue. The challenge came back to us: this city needs safe housing for trafficked women. And so Unseen began.

But we never wanted Unseen to be just about safe housing. We wanted to end slavery once and for all, and that remains our driving focus.

I chaired the working group for the Centre for Social Justice’s landmark report “It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery”. This is now acknowledged as the catalyst behind the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015. It was a great honour to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours that year. On the other hand, I’ve also been described as “the loveliest disrupter you could ever hope to meet”.

This job has taken me from building flat-pack furniture for safehouses, to working with businesses to address slavery in supply chains, to delivering training, raising awareness and advising governments around the world.

When not at work, I enjoy travelling, spending time with my dog Harley, cooking, supporting Liverpool and Yorkshire CC, music (I’m a former DJ) and endurance events such as the Three Peaks Challenge and Tribe Freedom Runs – which I vow never to do again. Until the next time.