The Thomson Reuters Foundation announced the winners of its annual Stop Slavery Award in a ceremony hosted at the European headquarters of global law firm Baker McKenzie – supporters of the Award since it launched – in London last night. Held as a standalone ceremony for the first time, the 2020 Stop Slavery Award recognised more innovators than ever before.
Opening the event, Anahita Thoms, Partner at Baker McKenzie, said: "We are very proud of our continued collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It was an honor to host this year’s Stop Slavery Awards. We celebrated the power of dedication and collaboration to what is one of the most overlooked global issues of our generation, without losing sight of what the hard work that lies ahead of us and what we still need to do to trigger change across regions and sectors. We all left feeling energised to continue our work in eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery."
A panel discussion exploring how the focus on inclusive economies can be leveraged to tackle modern slavery was hosted before the ceremony. The panel, moderated by human rights, modern slavery and gender specialist, Cindy Berman, featured leading experts including Human Rights Barrister at One Pump Court Chambers, Parosha Chandran, UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Dr Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, and Global Director Sustainability, Environment and Human Rights at Reckitt Benckiser, David Croft.
Aldi UK, Outland Denim, HSBC UK and Delta Air Lines were amongst businesses awarded for their outstanding contribution to the global effort to end slavery and human trafficking.
The Stop Slavery Award was launched in 2015 at the Foundation’s annual human rights forum Trust Conference, as the first global recognition for businesses that had set a gold standard in efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains. Previous winners include Apple, Unilever, adidas and Intel.
This year, reflecting the wide range of actors dedicated to ending the scourge of modern slavery, the Award expanded again, with different categories for goods and service companies and SMEs, journalists, innovative solutions, impact, public awareness campaigns and collaboration.
Aldi UK beat shortlisted candidates Coca-Cola, IBM and Charoen Pokphand Foods to scoop the Stop Slavery Enterprise Award for Goods and Service Companies. The global discount supermarket was awarded for its leadership in the fight to clean a high-risk and complex supply chain. Judges also commended its leadership and for requiring suppliers and business partners to be trained in modern slavery awareness and legislation.
“We are delighted that Aldi has been recognised by the Thomson Reuters Foundation for our efforts in tackling this important issue. We will continue to work collaboratively to raise awareness and drive better standards. We hope that these awards inspire others to join forces and take positive steps to protect human rights,” said Fritz Walleczek, Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility, Aldi UK & IRE.
Australian ethical denim brand Outland Denim won in the Small & Medium Sized Companies category. Judges noted its holistic approach to supporting staff based on training, opportunity, a living wage and education – helping not only to improve the lives of its workers, but also their families and communities.
HSBC UK was named winner of the Stop Slavery Innovation Award, in recognition of its groundbreaking initiative to provide bank accounts for survivors of modern slavery – critical to ensuring they receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Meanwhile Delta Air Lines’ ‘#GetOnBoard’ campaign scooped the Campaigns Award, in which 86,000 airline employees so far have been trained to detect and respond to suspected human trafficking. The campaign includes an inflight video educating customers about modern slavery, successful lobbying for anti-trafficking legislation, volunteer opportunities, donating miles and flights to human trafficking survivors, and partnering with key anti-trafficking NGOs. Judges also commended Delta’s apprenticeship programme for survivors to learn professional skills, and the company’s employment of apprenticeship graduates. Recent data shows that 71% of labour trafficking victims report flying to the United States during their recruitment, and Delta is fighting vigilantly to change that.
“Delta Air Lines is beyond honored to be recognised in the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s 2020 Stop Slavery Award,” said Allison Ausband, Senior Vice President of In-Flight Service and leader of Delta's Executive Steering Committee Against Human Trafficking. “Our work is motivated by each survivor story we hear and the 90,000 passionate Delta employees who make hope for freedom possible. While we have made significant progress to fight slavery since Delta’s original commitment in 2011, we will keep climbing in our efforts until each victim is set free.”
Other winners included Insan Dost Association, an NGO in Pakistan that was handed the Stop Slavery Hero Award for its work to establish and protect the rights of bonded laborers working in brick-kilns. IDA have helped form hundreds of labour unions, facilitated basic citizenship rights for 54,000 kiln workers, and enrolled over 28,000 children whose parents are trapped in bonded labour into state and private schools.
Winners were also awarded for innovation and impact as a result of successful collaboration or policy change, and journalism to raise awareness of this under-reported issue. All winners received artwork designed for the initiative by Turner-prize winner Anish Kapoor.
Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Antonio Zappulla said: “This year, we expanded the number of categories to better reflect the broader efforts made by many organisations to stamp out trafficking and slavery globally. The response was terrific, as we were able to shortlist a number of extremely credible initiatives from around the world. From the larger corporations setting the bar high in supply chain transparency, to smaller NGOs such as Tamkeen, providing pro bono legal aid services to survivors of slavery in Jordan – our hope is that by highlighting and rewarding these incredible efforts, we will encourage others to follow suit. The fight against slavery is gathering pace. Now is the time to harness the momentum and drive forward future efforts to combat this global scourge.”
The United Nations’ International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation estimate that there are at least 40.3 million people around the world who are victims of modern slavery. According to the ILO, forced labour generates $150 billion in illegal profits every year.
For a full list of categories, winners, shortlisted candidates, and our judging panels, as well as details on the selection process, please see www.stopslaveryaward.com. Click here to watch highlights from the ceremony.