In a release, the companies describe modern slavery as "an atrocious and covert crime which refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and abuse of power. Walk Free, an international human rights group, has reported the problem is getting worse, with an estimated 50 million people impacted around the world in 2022."
The statement goes on to add: "Every company is at risk of being involved in this crime, whether they know it or not, and while governments have taken some measures to ensure businesses are complying with human rights standards, supply chains continue to present a great risk due to lack of transparency and access to resources.
"The tourism industry is no exception. From souvenirs purchased, to hospitality services provided, exploitation within travel continues to exist within supply chains. Intrepid has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to modern slavery in its own operations, and is taking this a step further, by more deeply evaluating and providing support to its 5,500 direct suppliers."
The new program will engage with suppliers, through an annual, online assessment to identify risks, analyze knowledge and actions, understand suppliers’ needs, and provide the support and tools they need to improve their own practices and those of their own supply chain.
Founding members Intrepid Travel and Flight Centre have already begun to roll out these surveys and tools to their suppliers globally and are now actively encouraging other businesses to join the consortium to collaborate on eliminating modern slavery in tourism.
"For so long businesses in every industry have ignored or fallen short of addressing the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains," said Sara King, General Manager of Purpose for Intrepid Travel.
“The reality is, we are our suppliers, and we hope the tourism industry can lead this change in mindset for businesses everywhere, to protect vulnerable people and communities around the world,” she added.
More information is available at www.intrepidgroup.travel/our-purpose/responsible-business/human-rights.