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Save the Children welcomed the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 as it is consistent with SCI’s own values and missions in the work that it does. Since the introduction of the Act in 2015, SCI has undertaken a number of initiatives internally to implement this prevention work across in our supply chain, partners and across our business and has also worked with communities to drive change.  

During 2020 disruptions to education, long periods of school closure and pressure on family finances due to the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic increased the risk of negative coping strategies within families.   This, together with increases in conflict and forced displacement exposed children to greater risks of child labour, exploitation and child trafficking.  Evidence from the Horn of Africa also showed that border closures due to COVID-19 and measures taken to crack down on smugglers have caused migrants (including children and youth) to resort to riskier strategies, including falling into the hands of more dangerous traffickers.  Save the Children programmes in all regions increased their focus on supporting child protection mechanisms to detect, prevent and respond to these risks, including supporting children to continue their learning and not drop out of school.  In addition to ongoing projects in several countries with a specific focus on preventing and responding to child trafficking and child labour, broader work to support community mobilization for child protection, and case-management for individual children with complex needs, was also directed to this aim. 

Examples of our work with communities include a number of Save the Children projects aimed at preventing and responding to child trafficking across the globe, with notable examples in Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Central America and West Africa. These programmes typically include the following core components:  

  • training of law enforcement officers and social welfare workers to identify, interview and provide appropriate care to child victims of trafficking; 

  • supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of child victims through information, mental health and psychosocial support and counselling, and reintegration into education, training and employment opportunities; undertaking family tracing and reunification;  

  • providing support to families to prevent (re) trafficking, through economic strengthening and raising awareness; and  

  • working with governments to strengthen their systems, legal frameworks and policies to prevent and respond to trafficking, including advocacy to ensure appropriate care and deinstitutionalization of child victims.  

Save the Children also works on child protection issues within supply chains, including child labour. In 2020 programming, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Turkey, Cote D’Ivoire and Uganda are some countries which included this work. An example of the outcome of Save the Children and partner efforts to scale protection mechanisms in supply chains, is the commitment of cocoa industry bodies to scale-up child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) to cover 100% of communities at risk of child labour in the cocoa supply chains of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2025.  Save the Children will be part of implementing and monitoring this commitment, through work with partners and multi-stakeholder platforms.  


As a global movement Save the Children is made up of 27 Members (national organisations) and 3 Associate Members, each of which is a member of the movement’s central body, Save the Children Association (SCA). Members lead on activities within their home territory and work with donors to develop programmes abroad, which are delivered by the movement’s implementing body, Save the Children International (SCI), via in-country teams working on the ground. SCI is a UK charity and company limited by guarantee, headquartered in London and functioning through SCI’s network of 5 regional offices and 57 country offices operating in 80 geographical territories. SCI provides development and humanitarian programming and campaign, policy and advocacy work to drive change for children, including those living in some of the most difficult and dangerous places in the world.  

Together with the 27 National Members and 3 Associate Members, SCI worked in 122 countries in 2020 to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. All the members of Save the Children, with combined revenues of over $2.2 billion, are working to deliver a shared strategy – Ambition for Children 2030

This statement is SCI’s Modern Slavery Statement. It builds on SCI’s previous Modern Slavery Statements, available on our website here, detailing the steps we have taken to help prevent and eliminate risks of modern slavery in our business and supply chains. 

  1. SCI’s business 

SCI employs approximately 14,500 people across its offices globally, in addition to volunteers and contractors. We have human resources functions in the country and regional offices where we work, and primarily hire our workforce directly and locally, through the relevant local HR functions, although in some instances we use agencies to assist with our recruitment. Further information about how our recruitment procedures help prevent risks of modern slavery are detailed below. 

(ii)         SCI's supply chain 

SCI has a very complex, dispersed, supply chain. SCI is not involved in manufacturing, agriculture or retail industries, which are typically high risk activities for modern slavery.  

The scale of SCI’s supply chain operations is underlined by our Supply Chain Key Statistics: 

  • $392m - third party supplier spend 

  • 2,500 - supply chain headcount 

  • 363 warehouses 

  • 3,703 vehicles in SCI’s fleet 

At least 80% of SCI’s procurement is sourced in-country by SCI’s 57 country offices. SCI recognises the risk of modern slavery in these countries and takes this very seriously. SCI has developed and in 2020 commenced the roll out of an online global procurement platform, to automate many source-to-pay procedures; the local, in-country, procurement systems across the organisation are gradually being transitioned onto this global IT system. The platform aims to simplify procurement procedures enabling greater visibility over SCI’s supply chain and enabling increased compliance. 

(iii)         SCI’s partnerships 

SCI delivers approximately 18-19% of its portfolio through partners. These are often local and international not-for-profit organisations based in the countries in which SCI operates and delivers its programming. SCI has a Head of Partnerships at SCI’s headquarters in London, and regional and country office partnership focal points across our movement. We continue to work with partners to ensure that modern slavery is not present in their operations and programming. 


  1. Mandatory staff policies 

As detailed in SCI’s previous modern slavery statements, our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking policy sets out SCI’s zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and its commitment to ensuring that modern slavery is not taking place in its operations and supply chains. This approach is supported through a framework focusing on awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. 

SCI’s Safeguarding policy framework serves to identify the various policies developed within Save the Children International (SCI) to create and sustain a safe organization. Specific policies have been developed so that every representative within SCI can better understand how to prevent harm and abuse, and to ensure proper mitigation measures and protections are in place. The Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy is included within the policy framework. Other mandatory policies which staff sign, included within the framework and which help us to combat modern slavery, include our Code of Conduct, Child Safeguarding Policy, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy and Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy.  

SCI’s Recruitment Policy and Procedure, Reward Policies and Relocation Policies embed the principles through which SCI recruits and helps ensure that modern slavery is not present within SCI’s own business. 

SCI has recently developed a global on-boarding process for SCI’s contractors which ensures that such workers sign SCI’s mandatory policies (including the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking policy) and complete SCI’s mandatory training prior to starting work with SCI. 

We have also enhanced our existing local and global whistleblowing mechanisms, including the roll out of an updated whistleblowing policy and procedure. SCI has a Global Whistleblowing Officer in place, who oversees the whistleblowing process.  We have several channels available for staff members who wish to make a whistleblowing complaint, including an internal incident reporting system and an external hotline, for those staff members who do not feel comfortable using our internal reporting channels.  

  1. Supply Chain and Partners 

Our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy has been embedded as a mandatory policy in our revised template partner agreements (rolled out in 2018) and our spectrum of key global template supplier contracts and tender invitations. Strict provisions have also been embedded in, and are fundamental to, our construction contract template, as we recognise the higher risk of modern slavery in this industry. Other policies to which our Suppliers are subject, such as our Child Safeguarding Policy, our Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy, our Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Policy and the Inter-Agency Procurement Group Agencies and Suppliers Code of Conduct set out SCI’s expectations of suppliers and help prevent instances of modern slavery. SCI also has comprehensive resources aimed at ensuring compliance with US Government and USAID Anti-Human Trafficking Provisions.    

In 2020, SCI continued to roll out its procurement manual, originally launched in 2018 and enhanced in 2019), to provide more information to our local teams about modern slavery, including how to identify, report and ultimately prevent such risks within the supply chain. SCI is currently reviewing and updating the manual. We have also continued to roll out SCI’s Procurement Policy alongside the enhanced manual. In January 2020, SCI deployed an updated version of Procurement Essentials, a functional training course, which includes enhanced sections on all SCI’s compliance standards, including Modern Slavery. This is a mandatory training course for all procurement staff, equipping staff with a compliance checklist to use when assessing suppliers, linking to SCI’s overall policy on Modern Slavery. 


  1. Due diligence processes 

SCI’s business 

Staff awareness: Staff awareness about modern slavery is key to ensuring that suspicious behaviours and indicators of modern slavery are flagged early on, and appropriately managed. Details of training currently available to staff are set out below in ‘Awareness and Training’. 

Recruitment practices: Our recruitment practices help prevent the risk of modern slavery within our business. Our recruitment agreements and policies are managed locally, based on global templates and principles but adapted for the relevant local context and applicable law. 

In 2020, we rolled out a framework agreement which is used when we engage with recruitment agencies in the UK (with a view to global use in the future), in which SCI’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy is embedded as a mandatory policy. 

Some of the other measures which SCI has in place include: 

  • Conducting vetting checks of prospective recruit before offer of employment given and a police and reference check prior to start date (double-stage process); 

  • Conducting regular salary reviews to ensure that staff get paid a living wage in the countries it operates in, and benchmarking salaries to ensure that they remain competitive in the sector; 

  • Checking, but not withholding, identity documents and rights to work documentation; 

  • Providing information on workers’ rights in a language they can understand; 

  • Not allowing for fines levied to be passed onto employees or for workers to be charged finders’ fees (for example, in the context of agency recruitment), and not deducting accommodation or transport costs from staff salaries. 

SCI’s Supply Chain 

In 2020, SCI continued the staged introduction of a global IT platform to manage supply contracts, which should help SCI to ensure, globally, that its contracts with suppliers comply with its mandatory policies (including our policy on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking). 

SCI’s Partners 

We ensure partner due diligence through conducting both mandatory partner vetting, and embedding questions concerning modern slavery and human trafficking in our mandatory Partnership Assessment Tool, to assess qualification of partners to deliver programmes together with us. This assists in considering and highlighting potential issues around modern slavery in partners we are considering working with. 

  1. Identifying, assessing and managing risks in modern slavery 

Risk assessments: Save the Children continues to embed Modern Slavery within its safeguarding policies and practices. The identification, contextualisation and mitigation of risks in relation to modern slavery and other forms of exploitation of children and adults within our development and humanitarian work is embedded within our risk management process. SCI is currently revising its safeguarding risk tool for all contexts, to further improve our prevention work around exploitation and abuse (including modern slavery).   

Safeguarding Tools: Our safeguarding tools, which include risk assessments, training, and dedicated Safeguarding Leads in each SCI country office, are also supportive of an approach to identifying, preventing, reporting and following up with risks and incidents of modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Supplier visits: Our local teams determine whether to conduct inspections of suppliers, and tend to focus on programmes such as nutrition and pharma where product quality is critical. In our procedures, we apply a risk-based approach (with focus on modern slavery and human trafficking) to determine whether a visit is necessary. We have reporting mechanisms in place for reporting modern slavery concerns, detailed within our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy. Where an issue is reported in relation to a supplier and an investigation is commenced, the investigation team determines whether a visit to the supplier’s premises is necessary. 

Supplier warnings: In our supply chain, our databases record the vetting status of suppliers. Our vetting systems draw from a broad range of criminal records that are public as well as adverse media reports, which if public, would identify perpetrators. If the supplier does not pass our vetting process we will not work with the supplier. 

Procurement manual updates: Our current procurement manual includes information about how to increase awareness of, assess risk of and report modern slavery within SCI’s supply chain. This is in addition to existing internal reporting mechanisms we have in place to escalate issues that have been identified. 

Reporting: SCI’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy encourages suspicions and concerns to be reported through its procedures. Concerns involving children may also be reported through our child safeguarding reporting mechanism and any concerns relating to sexual exploitation as defined in Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Policy. Reports are monitored by the relevant teams and appropriate action is taken against perpetrators. The corrective action will be determined according to the details of the case, and may include suspension or termination of our arrangement with a partner/supplier, referrals to police and relevant regulators, working with the local community, and disciplinary action taken against any SCI staff member involved. 

  1. Awareness and training 

In addition to our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy, SCI has a number of policies in place which are mandatory for staff to sign, and which help us to combat modern slavery, including our Code of Conduct, Child Safeguarding Policy, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy and Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy. In 2020 SCI continued the development of an e-learning module on Modern Slavery Awareness. The rollout for this module had initially been planned for the latter half of 2020, but due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on SCI’s operations in countries around the world, the rollout is now expected to take place in the latter half of 2021. 

Details of training available to staff is set out throughout this statement and there is training still in development. The below figures provide information in relation to training conducted in 2020: 

Mandatory child safeguarding training (incorporating modern slavery training) is now accessible by our staff across the world online (with in person training largely suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic). During 2020, 95% of SCI staff completed the mandatory online child safeguarding training.  

Mandatory global human resources online induction for new starters (incorporating elements of modern slavery) accessible by our staff across the world and explains what modern slavery is, how staff might spot it, SCI’s policy and how to report any suspected incidents. During 2020, 84% of new starters completed the mandatory online induction.  

If SCI receives any reports of child labour and modern slavery they are reported via SCI’s whistleblowing or safeguarding channels and dealt with appropriately within the organisation, and suitably coordinated between the local, regional and global levels. The SCI’s trustees and the Charity Commission are notified of any reports as appropriate. SCI anticipates that through the efforts being made to increase awareness of this issue amongst its staff, partners and suppliers, and the access to reporting mechanisms, modern slavery can be exposed and rooted out where it exists. 

2020 was a year in which SCI committed to an increased focus on safeguarding generally, including staff training and expanded policies. Modern slavery information continues to be incorporated into safeguarding trainings for teams across the organisation (such as our supply chain, safety and security specialist and humanitarian teams) as well as our general induction training.  In 2020, over 80% of SCI’s procurement staff completed a procurement training module which incorporates training on modern slavery. Specific safeguarding training is also being rolled out to supply chain teams across the organisation, including in Rwanda, Kenya and across our Asia offices. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that SCI has not been able to roll out the training at the intended pace, and continuing to provide bespoke safeguarding training to our supply chains remains a priority in 2021. 

Suppliers: With over 100,000 suppliers globally, it is not feasible to have a centralised training programme for all our suppliers across our supply chain. Our country and regional offices identify risks arising through their supplier due diligence work that they engage in, and provide support and clarification where needed on modern slavery to suppliers. We also engage with suppliers on a case-by-case basis to address queries regarding our contractual requirements (including with regard to our mandatory Modern Slavery policy). SCI provides training to suppliers in some contexts, and this is determined at the local level. 

Partners: Our International Safeguarding team incorporate information on modern slavery into our partner safeguarding training which now covers adults and children. 


SCI is committed to the continuing evaluation of our systems and processes to ensure that we can better raise awareness of, prevent, report and respond to issues of modern slavery across the organisation.  

Some of the actions which SCI will be taking in 2021 include:  

  • Strengthening our prevention work and adult safeguarding practices to help ensure that modern slavery aspects are addressed more robustly. 

  • A sustained focus on safeguarding generally, including staff training on Modern Slavery, and with a Modern Slavery integrated into SCI’s Safeguarding E-Learning course.  

  • The continued roll-out of a global platform to manage supply contracts, which should enable SCI to ensure that its contracts with organisations comply with its mandatory policies (including Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking).  

  • Continued delivery of child safeguarding training, refresher training and guidelines to SCI’s supply chain staff globally, which incorporates information on modern slavery, helping local teams to identify and address risk areas in their contexts and providing awareness of existing tools and how to use them. In particular, SCI is focussing on ensuring that supply chain staff on short term or casual contracts continue to receive safeguarding training.  

  • Considering country-specific requirements regarding training our staff and suppliers.  

  • Rolling out integrated safeguarding risk tool with strengthened Modern Slavery component. 

  • Revising our integrated safeguarding tool to improve our prevention work around exploitation and abuse.  

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes SCI’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31 December 2020. It was approved by the Board of Save the Children International in June 2021, and published on SCI’s website on 24th June 2021.  


Inger Ashing 

Chief Executive Officer 

Save the Children International 


Date: 24th June 2021