Is Your Company Enabling Modern Day Slavery?
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, an effort to draw attention to a problem that affects adults and children of all ages and demographics. Human trafficking leads to the exploitation of an estimated 25 million workers, 16 million of which are in forced labor arrangements according to the International Labour Organizations (ILO).
Businesses and consumers are often unaware of the possibility of human trafficking in the manufacturing and distribution of goods. Having a transparent supply chain and accountability program in place is essential to a sustainable sourcing practice that mitigates this risk. U.S. manufacturers import a diverse portfolio of goods from around the world, and numerous supply chain transparency laws require companies to address the efforts they take to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor. To help companies better understand their risk, last year MAPI conducted a survey on human trafficking in the supply chain. (MAPI members can view the full report here.)
Some of the key findings we identified include:
- All of the responding manufacturing companies in the survey sourced at least one good that is susceptible to forced or child labor according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (See the interactive map)
- There are as many executives who believe their existing due diligence programs adequately screen suppliers for potential labor violations as those who disagree; however, opinions vary greatly by function.
- Although more than 70% of respondents specifically mention human rights issues in their suppliers’ codes of conduct, the majority do not include human trafficking risk factors as part of their third-party due diligence program or screening process.
- Companies are meeting their regulatory obligations; however, the majority of respondents do not have a comprehensive program in place to hold their suppliers accountable.
As the third largest criminal activity in the world, human trafficking will take efforts across the public and private sectors to reduce or eradicate this inhuman activity. If you suspect a human trafficking incident, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline via its website, phone (888-373-7888), or text (233733).