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Strategy to Reinforce Commitment to Tackling Modern Slavery

South Tyneside Council's Cabinet will next week hear how the organisation is strengthening its commitment to stamping out the scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking.

The council is among the first in the country to develop a comprehensive strategy which sets out how it will identify, prevent and tackle these types of crimes.

The strategy builds on the existing modern slavery statement and identifies further actions that can be taken across the Council to help eliminate risks of slavery in the organisation and its supply chains.

Cllr Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation, said: "South Tyneside has fortunately had relatively little exposure to these kind of crimes, however the North East as a region has one of the highest rates of modern slavery in the country, with 200 victims identified last year.

"That is a horrifying statistic and is why it is crucial that we work with our neighbours, the police and other partners to eradicate this exploitation.

"As a council we have been clear about our pledge to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking but this comprehensive strategy is about actions as well as words.

"It sets out not just how we respond to and help prevent these incidents, but how we can identify and engage with victims.

"Protecting vulnerable people is one of the council's key priorities and there is absolutely no place for slavery in our business, our supply lines or our community."

The strategy reinforces and builds upon policies and partnerships which are already in place, including due diligence around procurement procedures to reduce the risk of modern slavery in supply chains as well as a whistleblowing policy which supports council employees, contractors and partners in coming forward with any concerns.

Cabinet members will be asked to endorse the new strategy.

The meeting of Cabinet will be held at 4pm on May 15 in South Shields Town Hall.


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