Fortescue works to rid slavery from global supply chains

Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has called on organisations to audit their supply chains, saying modern day slavery is rife.

The iron ore mogul said companies need to ensure they aren’t unintentionally supporting slave labour, Perth Now reports.

Forrest said he was shocked to discover slave labour was present in his network of about 3500 suppliers. 

"We searched our suppliers and we found slavery," Forrest said.

"We're working with (the suppliers). At this stage I'm believing the chief executives of these large companies at the top of these chains didn't know.

"The forces which allow that despicable trade and abuse of people are still within the economic system and that's what must be looked at.

"Business can make a massive and historic contribution to the end of slavery."

Forrest this week launched the Freedom Fund at the Clinton Global Initiative symposium, an event run by former US president Bill Clinton.

With $30 million already at its disposal, The Freedom Fund will work to eradicate slavery, targeting known hot spots including Ethiopia, Nepal and India.

The Fund has set a target to raise more than $100 million over the next seven years in a bid to reduce slavery by 2020.

Forrest explained the elimination of slave trade needs to be done swiftly.

"It's got to be done in years, it can't be done in decades, it certainly can't be done in centuries," he said.

In an effort to fuel a global social movement against slavery, Forrest is next month scheduled to release the first Global Slavery Index report, which measures slavery in more than 160 countries.

"Slavery has escaped because it’s very hard to measure," he told The Sunday Times.

"The index is designed to shine a major spotlight on the slavery industry country by country.

"This global measurement, while very ambitious, is the key which is missing to really unlock the slavery industry and divide and conquer it."

Part of the plan to cut slavery across the world involves working with business to help them identify and eliminate slavery from supply chains.

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