Forced Labor and Supply Chain Transparency In 2015 and Beyond

In 2015 we saw the UK Modern Slavery Act passed, President Obama’s Executive Order 13627 come into effect, and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act marking its five year anniversary. Reports of forced labor in supply chains were widespread with a new, controversial Trafficking…

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December 24, 2015
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In 2015 we saw the UK Modern Slavery Act passed, President Obama’s Executive Order 13627 come into effect, and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act marking its five year anniversary. Reports of forced labor in supply chains were widespread with a new, controversial Trafficking in Persons Report released in July, an in-depth Guardian investigation revealing forced labor abuses in the Thai fishing industry, and the Associated Press reporting that slavery-tainted fish often winds up in the supply chains of major American grocery stores.

As public awareness increases, so do legislative measures to mitigate forced labor abuses in corporate supply chains. The rising profile of forced labor in supply chains has reached a tipping point.

As we enter 2016, the conversation must shift from awareness raising, to action. We must discuss who is acting, who is succeeding, and where the opportunities lie to create stronger and more widely used best practices.

Our recent blog series explored the opportunity technology presents to reshape corporate supply chains. From how to trace the movement of global objects, to data collection practices and information sharing, our series examined ways in which technology can shape our existing supply chain management practices, as well as offer new approaches to the industry. The Partnership for Freedom recently launched the Rethink Supply Chains challenge, a competition geared to create innovative technology solutions to addressing labor trafficking in global supply chains.

In 2015 significant strides were made to expose the issue of forced labor in supply chains around the world. As we move into the new year we can build on the successful legislative efforts and documentation that has exposed the issue around the globe.  Equipped with more information and tools in 2016 we can begin to evaluate and determine the most appropriate and effective solutions for eliminating forced labor from supply chains.