Detecting and tackling modern-day slavery

During 2017, we asked more than 8,000 supplier businesses to cascade our modern slavery e-learning training through their supply chains. The training, which is available in English, Hindi and Mandarin Chinese, is designed to increase workers’ and line managers’ awareness and understanding of modern slavery risk. It also promotes Vodafone’s Speak Up process as a way for workers to raise issues directly with Vodafone.

As a direct result of this training, during the year, we had one report of a modern slavery-related issue through Speak Up, from a worker at a supplier site in one of our African markets. The individual raised a concern that they did not have an employment contract and had yet to be paid.

Working with an independent auditor, Vodafone observers visited the site to review the supplier’s contracting and payment procedures. This included document checks, confidential employee interviews and taking a sample of the supplier’s workers’ contracts, in job roles likely to be at risk of modern slavery practices.

After a thorough investigation, using an independent audit firm specialising in detecting modern slavery to carry out an on-site audit, no wrongdoing was found. However, we identified some areas for improvement to avoid any similar concerns occurring in the future. The supplier has since implemented the recommendations that resulted from the audit with respect to communicating pay in advance of remuneration and ensuring that employment contracts are both kept on file and shared with employees. The confidentiality of the individual was maintained through the process.