Terms of reference for the Anti-Slavery Wales forum.
The Anti-Slavery Wales Forum (ASWF) is organised by the Welsh Government and provides leadership and coordination in tackling all forms of modern slavery in Wales.
The ASWF brings together cross-sectoral organisations to enable a more integrated approach to tackling modern slavery in Wales. This includes:
- work to prevent modern slavery from taking place
- work to identify and support potential victims, victims and survivors of all backgrounds, recognising different needs
- work to eliminate exploitation in supply chains
Meetings and ways of working
The ASWF will normally meet on a quarterly basis. Additional meetings may be called if required. Meetings will take place virtually using Microsoft Teams or in person.
The Welsh Government will be responsible for providing the secretariat for the ASWF and will:
- organise meetings
- commission and issue papers
- maintain an action tracker
- record and distribute minutes
The structure of meetings will be determined in advance by the chair. Agenda items may include verbal updates, guest speaker presentations and discussion of topical issues.
Members are advised to contact the secretariat concerning any accessibility requirements. The Welsh Government will periodically review the language preference of members.
The following behaviours are expected to be exhibited by all members to underpin open and collaborative ways of working:
- mutual recognition of legitimate and potentially conflicting interests
- seeking co-operation and consensus where possible
- Ensuring all members have an equal voice and opportunity to participate.
Confidentiality and conflicts of interest
Each member will take responsibility for ensuring that necessary confidentiality requirements are upheld. This means that if the chair or other members advise that documents or information shared with the group are sensitive and confidential, that information or document must not be shared beyond the ASWF. This can include information provided verbally as well as in writing.
The work of the ASWF may be subject to access to information requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where such requests are received, the Welsh Government's standard Freedom of Information procedures will be followed.
Each member is responsible for ensuring any actual or potential conflicts of interest are brought to the attention of the chair.
The Welsh Government is responsible for chairing and serving as the secretariat for the ASWF.
The Welsh Government will maintain a current list of member organisations and their standing representatives. Organisations will be invited to be members from the following sectors:
- the devolved Welsh public sector
- the UK Government
- regional anti-slavery partnerships
- related partnership structures (such as the National Independent Safeguarding Board)
- law enforcement and labour market enforcement bodies
- the third sector
- Trade union and employer social partners
- academic and research institutions
- international organisations
- any other organisation that may be deemed appropriate
Member organisations will appoint a standing representative who will represent the views of their organisation.
Nominated deputies can attend with the agreement of the chair. On these occasions, deputies should ensure an appropriate mechanism is used to brief the standing representative following their attendance.
Other organisations and individuals may attend meetings with the agreement of the chair. In participating, such organisations and individuals agree to abide by these terms of reference.
Thematic Working Groups
- The ASWF will be supported by four thematic working groups:
- Training and Awareness Group – to undertake activity to increase awareness and upskill people on modern slavery.
- Prevention Group – to undertake activity to prevent modern slavery from happening and to reduce the risk of people becoming victims or perpetrators of this crime.
- Victims and Survivors Group – to undertake activity to support and empower people who have been victims of modern slavery and to promote survivor voice within the design and delivery of anti-slavery work in Wales.
- Supply Chains and International Group – to undertake activity to support organisations in tackling risks of labour exploitation and unethical employment practices in their operations and supply chains, and to work with international partners.
- Each thematic working group will identify its key priorities and will report to the ASWF. This will determine the ASWF’s Delivery Plan. Thematic working group chair(s) will be expected to provide regular verbal and written progress updates.
- Additional thematic working groups may be established by the Welsh Government, and existing ones restructured, merged, or abolished, as considered useful or necessary.
Governance and reporting
- The ASWF will have a Delivery Plan that will set out its priorities as determined through the thematic working groups.
- The ASWF will report through its chair to the Minister for Social Justice.
- Updates on the work of the ASWF may form part of wider reporting, as appropriate.
Annex: Context of Anti-Slavery Wales Forum
Modern slavery is a crime defined in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Victims are forced, threatened, or deceived into situations of subjugation, degradation and control that undermine their personal identity and sense of self, violate their human rights, and leave long-lasting harmful effects. Modern slavery includes exploitation of both children and adults. There are different forms of support available, different processes, and different consent requirements for entering the National Referral Mechanism for children and adults.
Modern slavery is a complex crime which includes:
- Labour exploitation, where victims are forced to work in a highly exploitative situation in which they cannot freely leave for other employment or exercise choice.
- Domestic servitude, which typically involves victims working in a private family home where they may be ill-treated, humiliated, subjected to unbearable conditions or working hours or made to work for little or no pay.
- Criminal exploitation, where victims are exploited and coerced to commit a crime for someone else’s gain.
- Sexual exploitation, where victims are coerced into working in prostitution or other sex work or sexually abusive situations.
Tackling modern slavery in Wales requires a coordinated multiagency response. The Welsh Government has employed officials to coordinate work on modern slavery since 2011, and has organised a national modern slavery governance structure since 2013.
Tackling modern slavery requires coordinated work across the four nations of the UK. The Welsh Government participates in regular meetings with the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice. The Welsh Government also works with the office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.