Verit? and ASSET will pilot open-source, user-friendly policies, tools and investigative approaches that companies can adopt to reduce the risk of modern-day slavery in their supply chains. Educate stakeholders and recruit participants to join the pilot efforts. Develop learning materials from the process around the positive outcomes for companies and workers of a strengthened commitment to avoiding and resolving slavery in supply chains. Train frontline advocates for workers on the use of these tools in order to link grassroots groups with the corporate responsibility community and thereby leverage their knowledge. ASSET will further focus on leveraging the results into public support of anti-slavery efforts.
Verit? and ASSET will undertake this commitment in several steps:
1. Recruit pilot companies and/or identification of supply chains for focus.
2. a. Map supply chain to sub-tier and raw material suppliers, and documenting labor broker practices and identification of highest areas of risk by geography and sector. b. Prioritize areas for action, and identification of key leverage points in supply chains.
3. a. Adopt policies and protocols at corporate level by at least three multinational companies. b. Extend policies and protocols to suppliers and sub-tier levels, with training and incentive schemes.
4. Monitoring and evaluation: Assess success
5. Engage public audiences to build support for positive action.
This commitment will have the following outcomes:
1. Increase visibility and understanding of the labor broker system and other mechanisms that increase vulnerability to slavery by migrant workers, in manufacturing and raw material sourcing.
2. Enable workers and employers to make better-informed choices when considering broker services
3. Clearly define standards for brokers to create differentiation between 'good' and 'bad' brokers and between legitimate practices and illegal activity.
4. Create similar standards and benchmarks for other mechanisms of enslavement.
5. Improve ability of stakeholders--including NGOs, labor unions, employers, politicians, policy makers and consumers--to assess and advocate for improvements in broker performance and share information in ways that will reinforce and enhance government monitoring and enforcement.
6. Make 'good' broker practices a competitive business advantage by elevating market pressure, from both employers and workers, on labor brokers to abide by industry standards and legal regulations and adopt ethical practices and to reward companies that adopt sound, preventive policies and practices.
7. Define good practices for companies to address risk of slavery throughout their supply chains, with a focus on the sub-tier and raw material sourcing levels.
8. Provide guidance and feedback for policymakers to develop and refine policies and programs for regulation and accreditation of labor brokers and deployment of workers.
Slavery and human trafficking are present in the supply chains of global corporations and their suppliers in diverse business sectors and a wide range of countries. Risks are particularly high when foreign migrant workers are engaged, and where raw materials are produced. Companies of all scales and across sectors--agriculture and manufacturing, extractives and infrastructure--currently face a serious risk of engaging forced labor when they or their supply chain partners hire migrants through brokers. Corporations are increasingly becoming aware that the raw materials that make up their products can frequently be produced or harvested by forced laborers. Workers are particularly at risk when they have taken on debt to finance access to a job. Indeed anytime and anywhere that workers make goods, harvest crops, build buildings, mine minerals, especially foreign migrant workers, they are at risk of becoming enslaved. This is a common risk in developing countries, developed countries, including Europe and the United States.
Within labor brokerage, this risk is particularly prevalent because government regulation of labor brokers is minimal, and monitoring is complaints-based (a flawed premise due to the coercion and the violence inherent with abuses). The role of the business sector to end slavery through reforming labor brokerage practices is untapped, in large measure because of the absence of verifiable performance standards, and tools by which broker performance can be verified. These standards and tools will enable end users, including employers, workers themselves, and workers' advocates, to play a vital role in driving slavery out of supply chains, all the way down to raw materials where problems are particularly prevalent.
This joint commitment between ASSET and Verite will develop, pilot, and advocate for the adoption of tools and practices relating to a range of business practices like hiring via brokers, vulnerabilities like debt-bondage, and sectors involving raw material harvesting. It will generate ways publicly to recognize the positive actions of those companies that take effective steps to address slavery to encourage broader adoption.
Verité and ASSET continue to seek partners among the multinational community that are committed to understand how their supply chain operations and business partners face risks of forced labor.
SEEKING: financial resources, implementing partners, media/marketing opportunities.
Seeking philanthropic support for the policy advocacy and standards setting portion of the program. Seeking private sector partners with whom Verité and ASSET can pilot the standards in supply chains and publicize results. Of particular importance are partners from the electronics, construction/infrastructure and agricultural sectors.
OFFERING: implementing partners, best practice information, media/marketing opportunities.
Advocacy and public recognition that supports CEO decisions to demonstrate effective approaches to forced labor and trafficking.