A leading campaigner from the Scottish recruitment sector’s fight against human trafficking is among those set to appear in a series of events this month in Edinburgh to explore questions of social justice, equality and identity.
This Saturday’s “Ending Slavery” panel discussion brings together a variety of representatives to look at how consumers, corporates and charities can work together to bring a halt to exploitation within supply chains. The panel discussion is being organised by the International Justice Mission – the largest international anti-slavery organisation in the world – and forms part of the Just Festival series of events running from August 5-25.
Shan Saba – the director at Brightwork Recruitment who played a key role in establishing the group Scotland Against Modern Slavery earlier this year – will be among those panel members discussing the rising epidemic and how to combat it. According to the IJM, there are 25 million people in forced labour around the world, many of whom are making products which Scottish consumers use every day.
“Scotland has a historic connection with slavery that our buildings, street names and so forth can’t stop us from remembering, but we can all play a part in stopping what is happening globally and locally,” Shan said.
“More victims were rescued in Scotland last year than in any year previously. UK numbers are growing and the outcome of Brexit is that humans will become a more valuable commodity.”
Shan became involved in this weekend’s event through his work with Andy Bevan, the director of IJM for Scotland. Both sit on the Scottish Government Action Area, a corporate group that advises ministers on human trafficking.
Shan will be joined on the panel by: Rachel Farey, business manager at fair trade specialist One World Shop; Crawford Anderson, the recently retired UK managing director of international industrial services company Baker Hughes; and Zoe Anderson, Scotland development coordinator at IJM. Pamela Lyall will serve as the panel mediator.
According to figures from the Scottish Government, 150 people across the country were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in 2016. That number jumped to 207 in 2017, and increased again in 2018 to 228.
Based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Brightwork is a leading supplier of temporary workers to Scotland’s drinks industry. Of the 1,800 to 2,000 temporary workers Brightwork places each week, between 1,200 and 1,500 are in drinks-related posts ranging from production and warehousing to events, housekeeping and hospitality.
“Brightwork’s experience in recruitment, particularly in the food, drink and hospitality industries, give us a unique insight into the tell-tale signs of slave labour,” Shan said. “Sharing that knowledge is important in the battle against modern slavery.”
Tickets to Saturday’s event are free but must be booked in advance, and can be acquired here.