Coming straight after being awarded the prestigious Del Singh Memorial Award by Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP for the Charter Campaign against Modern Slavery, the timing for the Co-operative Party’s Fringe on modern slavery could not have been more appropriate.

Kindly supported by the Co-operative Group our fringe titled Unfinished Business: the fight to end modern slavery was with a packed audience – many of whom were councillors in areas where they have adopted the Charter. The fringe highlighted how the co-operative movement is coming together to shine a light on this overlooked crime, and the practical approaches that can be taken to tackle it.

Emma Hoddinott, the Co-operative Party’s Local Government Officer, chaired the meeting and gave a short update of how much progress the Charter has made with 32 councils having now adopted it; and over 8 million people now live in areas where their council has signed the Charter.

Paul Gerrard outlined the work of the Co-op Group in showing leadership on this issue and introduced Bright Future, the project supported by the Co-operative Group which helps victims of modern slavery rebuild their lives. This was followed by Phill Clayton who at City Hearts works on this project and demonstrated the practical difference it makes to victims.

Cllr Asher Craig explained why Bristol was one of the first councils to adopt the Charter, the importance of this and their history and the relationship with the current Windrush scandal.

Lord Kennedy explained what Co-operative Parliamentarians have been up to, calling on the Government to take strong action. Whilst there was a lot of work already there were also important points to take away. The issue of housing for victims was highlighted, often excluded from support due to residency rules; the role of trade unions in raising this issue; and how the crisis in our legal system is impacting on victims.

But that call to action is not just for those in the room. During our month of action go back to your branch and council and ask what they are doing to tackle modern slavery.