December 2 was recognized around the world as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The annual event stems from the UN General Assembly’s “Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others” adopted on that day 68 years ago. Yet despite decades of progress and awareness of the issue, such practices remain a major international concern.
The morally abhorrent practices of modern-day slavery and human trafficking violates numerous state, federal, and international laws. Yet many companies are unaware of the direct and indirect effects of human trafficking upon their supply chains. The International Supply Chain Initiative (“ISCI”), of which Green and Spiegel is a founding member, is committed to working with companies to ensure legal compliance with laws and regulations regarding forced labor in supply chains. ISCI makes it a priority to work with managers and executives to protect against the risk of forced labor directly or indirectly affecting their supply chains through personalized curricula of training, consultation, and policy development.
Indeed, human trafficking is very prevalent in our globalized economy, far more so than most people realize. The International Labour Organization (“ILO”) estimates that 24.9 million people are trapped in some type of forced labor, 16 million of which are exploited in the private sector in industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. Four million are also estimated to be forced into labor by governmental authorities, while 4.8 million are forced into sexual exploitation. Child labor is also a significant concern, as the ILO states that 1 out of every 4 slaves is a child. The United States Department of Labor has found that 139 goods from 74 countries are made with forced or child labor. In addition to an international climate increasingly attacking the issue, consumers themselves are striking against such practices by opting for responsibly sourced and made products.
Given the complex and intricate nature of supply chains, it can be easy for forced labor to unknowingly enter the production processes. Not only are there legal ramifications in customs and trade law if forced labor is discovered in a corporation’s supply chain, but also companies can experience significant public relations fallout leading to lost profits, reduced market share, and irreparable reputational damage.
The risk is prevalent, and ISCI is willing to work thoroughly and diligently to help your corporation become Forced Labor Free. For more information about this opportunity, including a Certification Program with a Consumer-Facing Label, please contact us directly.