18 Oct

ABTA launches new modern slavery guidance and online training for Members 

Today, Anti-slavery Day in the UK, ABTA is launching new resources to help its Members identify and report modern slavery and develop strategies to tackle it within supply chains. 

As many as 40.3 million people across the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016* - it is a hidden crime and difficult to detect. 

All types of businesses need to be aware of the existence and potential of modern slavery in local, national and global supply chains. Given the global nature of the travel industry and the significance of the sector, travel businesses are well-placed to play a part in addressing modern slavery. 

ABTA has worked with Members on human rights issues for many years through programmes such as ‘Better Places’ - which addresses the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism and its Travelife certification scheme for hotels and accommodations - one of the only hotel sustainability certification schemes to have reviewed its auditing criteria in light of the UK Modern Slavery Act.

ABTA’s new online training and guidance supports Members to understand modern slavery, develop strategies to tackle it and train staff to recognise and report it.  

Modern slavery includes activities of forced labour and human trafficking, it can also involve sexual exploitation. Forced labour may involve keeping someone’s identity documents from them, abusive working conditions or restricting a person’s movements. An individual may also be forced into labour in order to pay off debts (bonded labour), which can often be a recruitment fee and travel costs to take up the role. Bonded labour is the most widespread form of modern slavery. 

The guidelines provide more details for those who have responsibility for developing policies and practices to tackle modern slavery in their business and supply chains. It includes good practice, case studies, information on legal compliance and international standards as well as a strategic framework to tackle modern slavery in the supply chain. The guidance is available freely to Members to download from ABTA’s Member Zone.

By implementing the good practice outlined in the guidelines, travel business will be able to:

  • improve the situation of people vulnerable to or in circumstances of exploitation across the world, with the intention to reduce the number of victims of modern slavery
  • demonstrate a commitment to tackling modern slavery
  • pursue compliance with legal requirements such as the UK Modern Slavery Act, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and other laws addressing modern slavery and human trafficking in supply chains
  • show and help meet expectations from customers, workforce, investors, civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

The online training is an introductory course which helps staff understand what modern slavery is, where and how it can occur, what to look out for and how to report it. The training is available to ABTA Members for free via the ABTA Knowledge Zone.

The guidance and training was developed in partnership with Stronger Together which supports businesses in addressing modern slavery risks.

Nikki White, ABTA’s Director of Destinations and Sustainability said:

“Modern slavery is a complex crime and important matter for the travel industry to address. Sadly, there are millions of victims of modern slavery, in all corners of the world, who are living or working in terrible conditions – and it can be very difficult to detect.

“All industries need to be alert and aware of the risks of modern slavery, and be looking at the measures they can put in place to help reduce this global problem. The travel industry is well-placed to work to reduce modern slavery and we hope these new resources will support Members to further develop their approach on this critical issue.”

Jantine Werdmuller von Elgg, Managing Director at Stronger Together said:

“All organisations have a duty to take action to address forced labour and minimise the risks in their businesses. It’s also important they recognise that modern slavery could happen in any part of the supply chain, whether it is the person cleaning a room in a hotel, a construction worker building a new luxury complex, or the person preparing a meal at a local restaurant during a guided tour. We are pleased to have worked with ABTA on this new guidance and e-learning course which will help their Members in the travel and tourism sector to mitigate the potential risks of modern slavery for the men and women working in their operations and supply chains.

“Businesses of all sizes can inform their staff and follow the clear, straightforward steps provided in the guidance to help them deter, detect and deal with modern slavery. Today is UK Anti-Slavery Day, we encourage you to take this moment to acknowledge this issue and commit to taking action.”   

Earlier this year, ABTA signed up to the Roundtable for Human Rights in Tourism which is a multi-stakeholder alliance of civil society organisations, tour operators and travel associations dedicated to respecting human rights.

For further information, contact:
Emma Brennan, Head of Media & PR, 020 3117 0514
ABTA press office press@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0596

Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via pager: 07623 951 339
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel

Notes to editors
*International Labour Organization, Walk Free Foundation, International Organization for Migration. 2017. Global estimates of modern slavery: forced labour and forced marriage. 

About ABTA
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.