Modern slavery is destroying the lives of people living in Cheshire West, the borough’s families’ chief believes.
Ellesmere Port Sutton ward councillor Nicole Meardon (Lab) was speaking as business owners are being urged to do all they can help stamp out the problem.
Cheshire West and Chester Council, Chester Cathedral and the Cheshire Anti-Slavery Network are to host a business reception to highlight the scale of the issue and outline what can be done.
‘Modern Slavery: The Real Challenge for Business’ will take place at the cathedral from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, 8 March.
Cllr Meardon said: “Modern slavery is a very real issue and is destroying the lives of people living in our borough.
“It affects adults, children, UK nationals and people who have come to this country from overseas and includes people exploited in the sex industry, through forced labour, domestic service or people forced into criminal activity.
“It is appalling that people are treated like this and we must do all we can to make a difference and make sure this is a borough where everyone is treated with respect, where everyone can earn a decent living for a good day’s work and where everyone can thrive.”
Discussion points at the reception will include how businesses can support ethical supply chains, identify victims of modern slavery and make sure they are compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The legislation requires businesses to ensure that all their operations down through their supply chains are ethical and free of modern slavery.
The event will be chaired by the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster.
Speakers will include Quintin Lake, a consultant on ethical supply chains and the requirements of the act, Shayne Tyler, the head of a large food processing company and Penny Street, from the Co-op.
The borough council says it has resolved to work towards the eradication of human trafficking and slavery locally.
It has agreed an approach with Cheshire police and other local councils to tackle modern slavery with church leaders in the county signing a commitment to support the initiative in any whatever practical ways they can.
Admission to the business reception is free.
To book a place visit modernslaverytherealchallengeforbusiness.eventbrite.co.uk and for more information email email@example.com.