Our fight against modern slavery hit the headlines again today, with our Deputy CEO Pippa Wicks talking to BBC news, and Policy and Campaigns Director Paul Gerrard talking to BBC Radio 5.
The news centres around Peter (not his real name) – a modern slavery survivor and one of the first graduates from our Bright Future programme, that gives slavery survivors paid employment and support.
Peter tells the BBC he loves his life now; his job working in a Co-op Food store, his hours, and his colleagues and manager. He’s also excited about taking a holiday, and can hardly believe that he’ll get holiday pay while he’s away.
It’s a million miles away from his old life – being closely guarded at all times and forced to work outside for 12 hours a day in a car wash. Being told he’d be killed if he escaped. And for all his hard work he never saw any money, as he was forced to work under a false identity, so his wages could be paid into someone else’s’ account.
You can read Peter’s story, and hear how we’re supporting modern slavery survivors like him in the BBC news interview.
Standing up against slavery is in our DNA
Paul Gerrard, our Group Policy and Campaigns Director also spoke to BBC Radio 5’s ‘Wake up to Money’ programme this morning, sharing his insights on modern slavery, and what we’re doing to fight it.
When asked why the Co-op’s doing this, Paul told the BBC:
“It’s in our DNA. In May last year at our AGM, our 4.6 million members voted for us to tackle modern slavery. Our history goes back to 1863 when the founders of our Co-op stood with Abraham Lincoln and led the Manchester show of solidarity against slavery. Helping people in slavery is deep in our roots, and the reason we’re doing it is because businesses can be transformative – businesses employ people, and employment is the single biggest thing that will help victims of slavery become survivors of slavery.”
You can listen to Paul’s interview on iPlayer – 22:30 minutes in.