Top UK retailers including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Next were joining forces with law-enforcement agencies to eradicate labour exploitation and modern slavery in the fashion industry, Britain's antislavery body said on Tuesday. Six of the country's top fashion brands vowed to raise awareness to stop worker abuses, protect at-risk and exploited employees, and root out modern slavery from their supply chains, according to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). Companies face increasing scrutiny in Britain and beyond to ensure their operations are slave free as rising demand for cheap clothing fuels labour exploitation in factories worldwide. "Tens of thousands of people are employed in the textiles industry in the UK and it contributes billions of pounds to the economy," said Ian Waterfield, head of operations at the GLAA. "That alone makes it an attractive proposition for unscrupulous employers and criminals who exploit workers."

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