Fire service back Leeds pledge to tackle modern slavery

Fire chiefs have backed a city led pledge to show commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of modern slavery.

Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council with signed pledge poster

The Safer Leeds Safeguarding and Domestic Violence Team launched the Leeds Pledge to Tackle Modern Slavery to mark national Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday 18 October 2022.

Partners from across statutory, third sector and business services in the city joined together to back this pledge, including from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS).

The pledge is for all local services to work together to tackle modern slavery and help put an end to this crime.

Leeds Assistant District Commander Adam Garvey, who attended yesterday’s event on behalf of the service, said: “We are committed as a service to eliminating discrimination and exploitation.

“As a public sector organisation, we are dedicated in our approach to tackle modern slavery. We do this by ensuring that we act with transparency in all our business dealings or our supply chain, putting effective systems and controls in place to safeguard against all forms of modern slavery.

“Anti-Slavery Day yesterday provided an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery, and it encourages public sector services like ourselves, as well as other organisations and individuals, to do what they can to address this problem, which has absolutely no place in our world today.”

Keynote speakers who attended yesterday’s event at Leeds Civic Hall included representatives from West Yorkshire Police, Palm Cove Society, Ashiana, Justice and Care, and Hope for Justice.

A spokesperson from the event said: “This event showed people how they can support the Leeds Pledge and take action, regardless of where you work, live or volunteer.

“Whether you are the public sector, the voluntary sector, retail, hospitality, agriculture, beauty, production, construction, finance, tec, transport or something else – this pledge is for us all.”

A spokesperson from the Slave Free Alliance, who instigated the UK Anti-Slavery Day, added: “We all need to consider the impact of our organisations’ initiatives on workers and the communities in which we operate.

“Today, conflict and crisis, like we see in Ukraine and Syria, create modern slavery risks in our workforces. As we make critical traction towards an eco-sustainable future, we need to ensure we consider that the renewable goods we buy for instance are not made by people trapped in forced labour. By reducing the risk and addressing modern slavery in the reaches of our organisations, we are contributing to responsible and sustainable business practices.”