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Anti-Slavery Week: Uniting the waste and recycling sector


Modern slavery is closer than you might think. It’s happening across the UK, on the high street, in business parks and most alarmingly, for our us, within the waste and recycling sector.


What is modern day slavery?

Modern day slavery is where one person controls another for profit by exploiting a vulnerability. As an umbrella term it covers acts of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, as well as human trafficking. With levels of exploitation ranging from poor health and safety measures to excessive working hours, late or no payment, and forced labour, the shocking fact – according to Hope for Justice – is that 77% of leading companies can expect to find slavery within their supply chain.

Combatting modern day slavery in our sector

Each year, Anti-Slavery Week (17th October – 23rd October 2022), offers a vital opportunity for the waste and recycling sector to not only come together to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern slavery, but to look inwardly to measure our own progress in stamping out this horrendous practice.

As instances of modern slavery continue to rise globally, affecting 9.3 million more people in the last year alone, it’s important that our attention is not drawn away from this important issue, as other priorities grapple for our attention.

Over the last year we’ve seen rising interest rates, a cost-of-living crisis, economic and political turmoil. For those desperate to make ends meet, this creates a greater willingness to accept unsafe working conditions. Combined with growing pressure on businesses to cut cost, these are ripe conditions for modern slavery practices, short-cuts, and demand for cheaper labour.  As a consequence, we need to be more aware and more resilient than ever.

Building an alliance

Whilst Anti-Slavery Week is an occasion to build awareness and remind ourselves of the work which is still to be done, it’s also a time to recognise and thank all our partners and members who are actively working with us to tackle this appalling practice in our sector.

As a member of the Slave-Free Alliance  NRC has a Modern Slavery and Anti-Trafficking Policy which we use as part of our key compliance checks with members and partners to minimise any instances of modern slavery in our supply chain. In the years to come, we will continue to maintain robust processes that address the modern slavery issue, supporting and protecting our members, their partners, businesses and employees.


How you can help

However busy you are, we urge you to take a moment to view Hope For Justice’s useful materials and resources. These will help you learn more about modern day slavery and the signs of exploitation that we all need to be aware of.

You can also head over to our social channels (LinkedIn and Twitter) where you’ll find more information on how to spot the signs of modern slavery, alongside helpful advice for businesses.

We mustn’t forget that victims are often hidden in plain sight. It could even be happening to someone you know.

Knowing what to look out for could not only help you identify and report abuse, but save a friend from being impacted by this heinous act.

For more information about NRC’s Modern Slavery and Anti-Trafficking Policy, contact NRC on or 0845 299 6292.