Construction Industry Adopts SOS Hand Signal as Modern Slavery Signal

BUSINESS-LED INIATIVE, Stronger Together, has designed a new SOS hand signal to help recognise victims of modern slavery in the construction industry.

Launched today on Anti-Slavery Day, the signal aims to empower victims of slavery to seek help. It is recognised and encouraged by CITB, Saint-Gobain, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and CIOB.

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority has identified the construction industry as being at high-risk of modern slavery. The construction industry is taking more and more measures in the hope to prevent exploitation of labour, as well as offering support for victims of modern slavery.

Caroline Gumble, CIOB Chief Executive, said: “In the post-Brexit and post-pandemic period, there are many in construction with concerns that modern slavery may be on the increase so anything that might provide a route to support or safety for victims is to be welcomed. It’s also a useful opportunity to remind industry professionals of their role in helping to combat the problem and the signs of modern slavery to look out for.”

SOS Hand Signal

Identifying victims is a challenge as they often face threat or intimidation, which prevents them from being able to talk freely, and some may not have English as a first language. This is why the new, discrete hand signal is vital for tackling modern day slavery – it allows exploited workers to seek help without placing themselves in direct danger.

Stronger Together has created a variety of free sources in support of the new signal. These include:

  • A downloadable poster to place around the workplace
  • A simple toolbox talk to raise awareness of modern slavery
  • A multi-language video and slides for inclusion in on-site induction.

Kay Barnes, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at CITB, said: “We are pleased to support the launch of this hand signal, which is a simple new tool to help raise awareness of modern slavery and empower those affected by it. We know from our own fraud investigations that modern slavery exists within construction, and we all need to work together to stamp it out.

“We would encourage everyone to read and share the free Stronger Together resources on their website and play their part in tackling this issue.”

>> Read more about modern slavery in the construction industry in the news