Two years ago we started working with a charity to help two modern slavery survivors back into paid employment and regain control of their lives stolen by their traffickers. Now 18 businesses and 26 charities, brought together by the Co-op, are leading businesses worldwide in supporting the recovery through the Bright Future programme.

Bright Future, devised in partnership with the charity City Hearts, offers survivors a four-week paid work placement leading to a non-competitive interview. If both elements are successful, the candidate will be offered a permanent job within the host business.

So far, more than 100 survivors have been part of Bright Future and given a chance to rebuild their lives through the scheme. We’re now asking those who are interested in becoming a business partner to use the celebration of Bright Future’s second birthday as a reason to get involved, and help us reach our goal of 300 placements by 2020.

The development of Bright Future led the Co-op to being the first, and so far only, UK business to be recognised with the prestigious Thomson Reuters Stop Slavery Award.

Helping rebuild peoples’ lives

We often think of slavery as something from the history books but it’s happening in towns, cities and even rural areas across the UK right now. Having heard first hand the harrowing stories of people who’ve been caught up in this heinous crime, I’m proud that we’re working to help eliminate it and that so many other businesses are joining us in providing job opportunities.

Victims need to be supported while they rebuild their lives. Central to that is the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides. Without this, there’s a real chance they could fall back into the hands of those who have exploited them and for the terrible, unspeakable cycle of enslavement to begin again.

Businesses across various sectors of the economy have followed our lead and signed up to the innovative employment programme that provides jobs for those rescued from slavery.  We want to encourage more businesses to get involved with Bright Future, so we can offer this sustainable solution for a better future to many, many more victims.

Paul Gerrard
Campaigns and Public Affairs Director

Find out more by checking out some of our previous blog posts on how we’re tackling modern slavery.