The Evening Standard’s special report on modern slavery, commissioned as part of this newspaper’s Slaves on Our Streets campaign, has been launched in Parliament.
The report, which lays out 11 recommendations for governments and business to implement to combat slavery, is to be distributed to political and business leaders across Britain. Pope Francis will also inspect its findings at a conference at the Vatican next Friday.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who chaired the round table of experts behind the report, said it “expresses the commitment of the people of London to carry on this long battle”.
This newspaper’s three-month investigation exposed the scale of the crime in London, from sex trafficking to those forced to work in car washes and on building sites.
As part of the investigation, carried out jointly with The Independent, Cardinal Nichols convened a round table of experts from business, media, law, finance, philanthropy, law enforcement and victim support. Among them were Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner who was our partner in the investigation; newsreader and TV presenter Julie Etchingham; Paul Gerrard of the Co-operative Group; Monique Villa, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation; Jean Baderschneider of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; Yasmin Waljee of law firm Hogan Lovells; Unilever chief executive Paul Polman; Sir Matt Baggott, former chief constable of Northern Ireland, and John Studzinski, vice-chairman of investment giant Blackstone.
Mr Hyland hailed the progress made since the start of the campaign, including a 160 per cent increase in reports of the crime to police.
Among the recommendations by the report’s experts are giving longer-term support for survivors regardless of their immigration status, making trafficking a national policing priority, and encouraging companies to investigate slavery in their supply chains.
Former Met chief Lord Hogan-Howe, who worked with the Standard to oversee the investigation, said: “It’s when you get leadership like this that things can change.”