Bristol aims to be world’s first ‘transparent' slave-free city

24 February 2017

WILLIAM AVERY/COMMONS

Remembered: the painted head- and foot-stones of the grave of Scipio Africanus, an 18-year-old slave, at St Mary’s, Henbury, Bristol. Africanus was a servant to the 7th Earl of Suffolk, master of the “Great House” in Henbury. Africanus died in 1720; the young Earl and his wife died in 1722

Remembered: the painted head- and foot-stones of the grave of Scipio Africanus, an 18-year-old slave, at St Mary’s, Henbury, Bristol. Africanus ...

BRISTOL, once one of the world’s biggest slave ports, has pledged to become the world’s first “trans­parent city”, eliminating all slavery in the city council’s supply chains.

The Modern Slavery Act, which became law last year, requires com­panies with a turnover of more than £36 million to report the actions they are taking each year to end slavery in their supply chains.

The city council has signed up to the TISC (Transparency in Supply Chains) report, a database created by a social-enterprise company to provide an open, accessible registry to increase corporate transparency around those supply chains.

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “Transparency in supply chains starts with transparency of actions taken, and I will ensure that all council procurement requires that suppliers [are] required to comply [with the Modern Slavery Act 2015] and submit their anti-slavery statements to tiscreport.org .

”Our city was built through the sacrifices of victims of the trans­atlantic slave trade. But, together with Bristol’s business community, we will ensure that slavery has no place to hide in our city.”

Between 1698 and the end of the slave trade in 1807, a known 2108 ships left Bristol for Africa to exchange goods for enslaved Africans and take them to the Caribbean.

Jaya Chakrabarti, the chief exec­utive of Semantrica, which has developed the TISC report, said: “We can’t change Bristol’s past, but by playing to Bristol’s strengths, and using digital innovation and the power of partnership with social enterprises, we can lead the way in ending modern slavery here in our city and beyond.”

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