Plan International UK's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement
We welcome The Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the duty it places on large organisations, including Plan International UK, to disclose publicly the steps they are taking to prevent modern slavery in their own organisations and in their supply chains.
As an international development and humanitarian organisation, we strive for a just world that advances children's rights and equality for girls. We believe in the power and potential of every single child. But we also know that this is all too often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination, with modern slavery one of the most extreme examples of these denials of basic rights.
As with other forms of violence and exploitation, girls are often the most affected by certain forms of modern slavery. Girls and women account for around 71 per cent of the 40 million victims of forced labour and forced marriage, and each year 15 million girls are married before the age of 18.
We see the fight against modern slavery as key to the global struggle for human rights that is fundamental to our purpose: to make sure that all children can grow up enjoying their rights. We therefore welcome this chance to affirm our commitment to doing all we can to prevent modern slavery.
Plan International is a leading international organisation with expertise in education, child protection, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), livelihoods and gender-transformative policy and programming. We draw on this experience to support evidence-based advocacy on modern slavery, including through our role as co-chair of the global Child Labour Task Force under the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and our engagement with Alliance 8.7.
Child protection is at the heart of our work and many of our projects fight against modern slavery. We have humanitarian and long-term development programming that seeks to prevent and respond to exploitative child labour, as well as child trafficking, recruitment of children into armed groups and forced marriage.
In Nepal, for example, following the Gurkha earthquake in 2015, Plan International implemented an anti-trafficking programme, raising awareness by strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms, establishing intra-district anti-trafficking information booths to identify and intercept children at risk of trafficking or other forms of modern day slavery, as well as through provision of livelihoods and educational support to vulnerable children.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), Plan International supported the identification and integration of children associated with armed groups through the provision of educational services as well as setting up community-based child protection mechanisms, while in Nigeria a programme was implemented to support the girls who were abducted by Boko Haram.
In Togo, we are making parents and children aware of the dangers of trafficking, and rescuing children who have been trafficked to work as domestic servants, labourers, or sex workers. Other projects contribute more indirectly, from our campaigns for birth registration to our work prioritising child protection after a disaster.
We recognise that modern slavery is both a grave human rights violation and a truly global problem and that some of the countries in which we work face particular challenges in the context of modern slavery. We are committed to making sure that our activities and our decisions do not in any way contribute to modern slavery in any of its forms – human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced or bonded labour.
Plan International UK is a UK registered charitable company limited by guarantee. The Plan International global family is organised into separate legal entities and in our last financial year, which ended on 30 June 2017, these included 20 National Organisations, Plan International Inc (PII), and their subsidiaries.
Through PII, our international programmes are delivered by country offices in 51 countries across the world. Plan International UK and the other National Organisations manage and fund these programmes through a range of donors. We sign contracts with these donors as applicable, and provide grant management support to the country offices which directly implement the programmes.
Plan International UK is governed by our Board of Trustees, which is responsible for setting Plan International UK’s strategic direction, as well as for our overall governance.
Our supply chains
We use suppliers across all of our activities to enable us to carry out our charitable purposes. These range from fundraising and retail suppliers to those providing office facilities and recruitment services. We are not involved in manufacturing, agriculture or retail activities and so we are not at high risk of modern slavery occurring directly in our supply chains.
Our due diligence
As part of our commitment to identifying and mitigating risk we undertake partner due diligence before we partner with another organisation to help carry out our work.
We have sought assurance from PII that they have policies and procedures in place to oversee their procurement of goods and services, and that they are committed to ongoing risk assessment of their supply chains regarding modern slavery, and have measures in place to address any concerns that may arise.
Our policies in areas potentially impacted by modern slavery – including our recruitment and procurement policies – were reviewed and updated in FY17 to make sure that they address any concerns that may arise regarding modern slavery. Our whistleblowing procedures already define clear processes for reporting concerns about fraud, illegal action or malpractice, and these will be updated to include concerns about modern slavery. We are an accredited London Living Wage employer and ensure that anyone working for us, whether directly employed or engaged through a contract for cleaning or security services, is paid at this level, including apprentices and interns.
Our global child protection mission is to create ‘child-safe’ environments, both internally and externally. This includes making sure that all our partners, suppliers, staff, volunteers and Board members abide by our Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. We provide mandatory training on child protection for all staff and regular volunteers. This emphasises the importance of raising child protection concerns and makes staff and volunteers aware of how they can do this. It also includes discussion of some of the ways in which children can be at risk, including from modern slavery.
In FY17 we introduced a new services agreement and revised our consultancy agreement template to include a section on compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The templates also confirm the importance of abiding by our Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. When a Plan International country office forms a local partnership with an organisation based solely within that country, the country office is also required to carry out due diligence.
Our Donor Acceptance Policy has detailed ethical screening procedures regarding our decision to accept or refuse donations. These include a commitment that we will only accept donations if we believe that the donor’s activities are not harmful, in particular to the children and vulnerable people with whom we work, in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Do No Harm principles.
In summary, we are committed to continuing our work to review and monitor our policies, procedures, agreements and training, and to doing all that we can to make sure that contributing to modern slavery has no place in Plan International UK.
Lady Amanda Ellingworth, Chair
Plan International UK
Date: 5 October 2017