Three major organisations join forces in the fight against modern slavery 

Shan Saba (founder of SAMS)

TWO OF THE biggest names in the Scottish energy sector and a global life sciences business have joined the Scotland Against Modern Slavery movement.

SSE plc, one of the UK’s leading low-carbon energy company, Wood, a global leader in consulting and engineering, and Charles River Laboratories, the drug discovery and development experts, have signed up to the movement to work alongside existing members of the group as part of a cross-industry collaboration, to help stop the misery caused by labour exploitation. 

Scotland Against Modern Slavery (SAMS) has brought together the Scottish Government with over 56 businesses, charities, and NGOs, with the core aims of raising awareness of the problem, supporting survivors into positive employment opportunities and protecting vulnerable communities from exploitation.  

Over 600 men, women and children were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in Scotland last year – the highest number since records began. The Scottish Government funds Migrant Help and the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) to provide crisis support and assistance to potential victims identified in Scotland. It is vital that we all do our part to understand the indicators of human trafficking and exploitation.

All areas of Scotland have reported cases of human trafficking – anyone can be susceptible, and it is happening in our towns, cities and rural communities.

Siobhian Brown MSP, Minister for Victims and Community Safety, said: “Human trafficking and exploitation is abhorrent and illegal and action is needed across all sectors to end it. I am pleased to see more Scottish companies joining the fight against human trafficking and being clear that they are united with us in preventing the exploitation of people.”

Shan Saba, founder of SAMS, said: “We have supported over 19 survivors into work in recent years, each one suffering from the trauma of being exploited here on our doorstep. By the business community working together, we can share best practice and help stamp out this misery in our society.”

SSE develops and maintains electricity assets such as onshore and offshore wind, hydro power, electricity transmission and distribution grids, and efficient gas-fired generation, alongside providing energy products and services for businesses. The company employs around 10,000 people and is Real Living Wage and Fair Tax Mark accredited.

Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer at SSE, said: “SSE has zero tolerance of human rights abuses and modern slavery in all its forms and has a responsibility to understand the risks within its own business and supply chain and to reduce those risks. We are always keen to hear from and learn from others to protect vulnerable people and communities from exploitation wherever that may be.”

Wood is helping unlock solutions to critical challenges in energy and materials markets, employing around 35,000 people across 60 countries. Committed to making the world a better place, Wood is comprised of remarkable people, who are trusted by clients to design, build and advance the world.

Linzie Forrester, President of Sustainability at Wood, said: “At Wood, we are delivering the changes that world needs most, making sustainability real for our clients and ourselves. Everything we do is with an unwavering commitment to what we believe in and how we behave – with care and courage. We are driven to deliver solutions that transform the world into a clean, safe, ethical and equitable environment, and our work with SAMS will help make those ambitions possible.”

Charles River is a biotech research company, working in all the key areas of drug development – Basic research, discovery, safety and efficacy, clinical support, and manufacturing. They have worked on more than 80% of the FDA-approved drugs over the last 5 years. Charles River Edinburgh is Real Living Wage and Top Employer UK 2023 accredited.

Geoff Burns, Charles River Edinburgh’s General Manager, said: “Charles River is committed to operating its global business ethically and with integrity in accordance with all applicable laws, directives, regulations and codes to prevent the abuse of human rights and to prevent human trafficking and modern slavery. Charles River Edinburgh is pleased to be able to work with and learn from SAMS to help us continue to live our values of Care, Lead, Own and Collaborate. We have a zero-tolerance approach towards abuse and exploitation.”

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