How Schools are Focusing on Modern Slavery – 8 Examples

Source: Oxford Brookes Toolkit Combat Human Trafficking

Curriculum: Nottingham University Business Schoolin the United Kingdom has been working on eliminating modern slavery in supply chains through their involvement in the Rights Lab. They are embedding this agenda into their teaching and learning activities. For example, in Managing Operations, a core module, over 300 students become anti-slavery activists by contributing to Walk Free, the world’s largest business-facing anti-slavery NGO. Students are asked to evaluate corporate Modern Slavery statements based on the content that they are learning on the module. They also peer-review evaluations that other students produce to encourage critical thinking in compare reporting.  In 2018/2019 all students were given a book on modern slavery during welcome week and in 2020 they are hosting a dedicated PhD workshop on modern slavery.

Through Events: Copenhagen Business School,Thomson Reuters Foundation and C&A Foundation organised an event on ‘Tackling Modern Slavery in India through innovation, collaboration and best practice’. The objectives of the event, which brought together a number of experts from industry, were to raise awareness of modern slavery amongst brand, NGO and other stakeholders, to learn about the legal framework that exists and contextualized, innovative approaches to dealing with modern slavery and to identify synergies for organizations to work on issues of modern slavery in India.

Research:Schulich School of Business,the Shareholder Association for Research and Education and World Vision Canada recently published The Straight Goods: Canadian Business Insights on Modern Slavery in Supply Chains  The report explores the insights and experiences of a group of individuals and companies in addressing modern slavery. Each year, over $34 billion of goods imported into Canada are at high risk of having been produced by child labour or forced labour according to the report.

Networks:The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC), Babson College‘sInitiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, established the Responsible and Ethical Private Sector Coalition against Trafficking (RESPECT).The Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery utilizes Babson’s extensive global network, academic resources, and real-world business expertise to produce practical entrepreneurial solutions, ideas, and innovations to help end modern slavery and promote human rights. To date the initiative has hosted 18 webinars with its most recent series being New Technologies, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Tackling Human Trafficking. The website hosts resources organised by industry and by issue

Specialised modules: University of Technology Sydneyin Australia is home to a specialist centrefor abolishing all forms of human trafficking, slavery, forced labour and forced marriage. The centre, which is based out of the Faculty of Law, offers a free online course on anti-slavery as well as a special resource website focused on the issue of forced marriagesand has recently released a new book In Addressing Modern Slavery (UNSW Press 2019), that details how modern slavery is pervasive in global supply chains and therefore part of our daily lives. In 2019, UTS organised a special seminar, A Practical Guide to the Modern Slavery Regime, Regulation, Risk and Best Practice, that provided a framework for those in leadership and reporting roles to begin compliance and due diligence planning for the Australian modern slavery requirements.

Support young researchers:Launched in 2003, the oikos Cases Program hosted at University of St. Gallen, supports the development and use of cases on sustainability. The competition invites scholars from around the world and the 2018 winner was the case Eliminating modern slavery from supply chains: Can Nestlé lead the way? The case discusses the global food processing giant Nestlé’s problems relating to modern slavery in its cocoa supply chain and was written by Syeda Maseeha Qumer & Debapratim Purkayastha, ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad, India. In 2020, the fifth Young Researchers Summit will bring together scholars from all disciplines including ethics, law, business, human rights, and global affairs. One of the accepted scholars is Olivia Dean from RMIT University in Australia whose research focuses on how Australia addresses non-financial risks in the financial services sector.

Operations:Universities in the United Kingdom, including Nottingham Trent University, have responded to the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and have issued Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements. The statements outline the school’s commitment and actions towards incorporating the Modern Slavery Act. At Winchester Business Schoolthis includes ethical purchasingincorporating the Modern Slavery Act, the living wage and Fair Trade considerations.

Industry specific:COMBATis an interdisciplinary research project at Oxford Brookes Business School  that looks at the significant proportion of trafficking that is undertaken through travel and tourism businesses, which, by their very nature, facilitate the movement and accommodation of traffickers and their victims. Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Oxford Brookes University Business Schools are leading a consortium of academic and industry partners aimed at developing measures for combating human trafficking in the hospitality and tourism industry. This includes colleagues from across Oxford as well as from University of West London, Lapland University of Applied Sciences and the Ratiu Centre for Democracy in Romania. Key COMBAT outcomes have been step-by-step guidance for tourism businesses on how to combat trafficking, as well as a preventive and a remedial training toolkit which is being disseminated globally through international organisations including the UNWTO. On a regional level, the Oxford Brookes team have been working closely with Thames Valley Police and the different Hotel Watch Schemes that have been established to combat trafficking.

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