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Business & Human Rights Forum welcomes UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

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Business & Human Rights Forum welcomes UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

The Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum will welcome UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, to address its meeting this week.

Dame Sara Thornton will set out her key priorities as Commissioner, and highlight the responsibilities of business in addressing modern slavery. The meeting will be held virtually, with members tuning in from across the business, government and civil society sectors.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Dame Sara Thornton to address the Forum, and look forward to hearing her key priorities in the role of Anti-Slavery Commissioner. This is an opportune time for learning, particularly as the Commissioner has just recently published her Annual Report. Modern slavery has been a focal point for the Forum since its establishment in 2015 and, with new measures soon to be introduced by the Home Office to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Commissioner’s address is sure to prompt a timely and valuable discussion.”

UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, said:

“Business has a vital role to play in the detection and eradication of modern slavery from supply chains. I welcome the work of the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum and look forward to hearing from local companies, public bodies and NGOs about their progress and challenges in tackling this multi-faceted problem.”

Forum Chair and Head of Global Supply at Hardscape, Glenn Bradley, said:

The Forum is very privileged to welcome Dame Sara Thornton and listening to her experienced rationale. It is essential that businesses who degrade human beings or the environment are challenged and regulated against. The Modern Slavery Act in the UK is one part to regulation but it does not go far enough and so we enthusiastically await to learn from the Anti-Slavery Commissioner how Companies, Government, Trade Unions, NGOs & other stake holders can bring about essential Business model change with regulation to create equal, equitable work as the foundation stone to a green, inclusive, resilient economy that works for society at large in the future.”

Dame Sara Thornton is the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner responsible for encouraging good practice in the prevention and detection of modern slavery and the identification of victims. She was Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police from 2007 -2015 and the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 2015-2019. She is chair of the National Leadership Centre’s Advisory Board and an Honorary Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force. She is Honorary Professor in Modern Slavery at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool.

The Forum’s meeting takes place on Thursday 15th October, from 10:30am to 12:30pm. For more information, or to register to attend, please email: zara.porter@nihrc.org

For details of the Forum, please visit: www.nihrc.org/business-human-rights-forum


1. The October meeting of the Northern Ireland Business & Human Rights Forum was also attended by Minister for Justice, Naomi Long MLA, who addressed members.

2. Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland, Jacqui Durkin, also attended the meeting and presented the Criminal Justice Inspectorate’s recently published ‘Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Report’.

3. The Department of Justice launched its consultation on a Draft Modern Slavery Strategy 2020/22, details of which can be found here.

13 Oct 2020

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