Slave Free Trade; It’s Now

Please read and SHARE widely my introduction to the concept of slavefreetrade.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/slave-free-trade-its-now-brian-iselin?

 

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slavefreetrade.org recognises the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

slavefreetrade.org recognises today, December 2, as The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

This date was chosen as it marks the date of the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).

The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide, creating US$ 150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy each year.

Facts and figures:

  • Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.
  • Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups.
  • Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
    Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
  • Domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment are among the sectors most concerned.
  • Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labour.

Major UK hotels Hilton, Shiva join fight against modern slavery

#slavefreetrade.org is very pleased to see this positive news from Thomson Reuter’s humanitarian affairs correspondent, Lin Taylor (@linnytayls):

“Hotels across Britain are joining forces to fight modern slavery in an initiative to be unveiled on Wednesday that will encourage staff and guests to help spot signs of trafficking in hotel foyers and corridors.

Major hotel groups, including the Hilton and Shiva Hotels, will pledge to examine their supply chains for forced labour, train staff how to spot and report signs of trafficking, and raise awareness of the issue among hotel guests.”

Read the whole article here: http://news.trust.org/item/20161130000604-j474z/

(* Credit to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women’s rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)

 

Say ‘hi’ to slavefreetrade.org

Welcome to my new counter-trafficking intitiative, slavefreetrade.org.

Intending to reduce trafficking by reducing demand for consumer products produced by slaves, slavefreetrade.org is a Geneva-based NGO aiming to promote a global slave-free product labelling and certification regime.

Businesses around the world are invariably using slaves; ervy product we consume carries the risk of slavery or exploitation. Sometimes this is present in supply chains inadvertently, and sometimes with knowledge. Very often, this takes the form of forced labour down deep in supply chains, down to 2nd-and 3rd-tier suppliers. Very often, the forced labour comes into the chain not through the principal firm that we know, such as the Samsungs and Apples and H&Ms, but through their middlemen who shift their own suppliers or are deceitful about their labour practices.

The only thing preventing business, however, from seeing down into their supply chains, is the lack of interest in seeing.They need to want to see.

Businesses that want to see into their supply chains can and do, and this is proven to be the case. Just look at the businesses where slavery in supply chains was exposed, you very quickly see the public relations disaster trigger close attention to supply chains. It is possible, and just needs the right motivation.

So, how do we make business take a good look at their supply chains? There are three main actions at work to force this: the legislative environment, the reputational risk context, and the broader legislative context.

On the first point, as more countries bring in legislation such as the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, the onus is on suppliers to prove their chain is clean, and on businesses to prove to government against technical criteria that their supply chains are slave-free. On the second point, legislation and treaties dealing with, for example, bribery, provide interesting context for businesses to want to ‘know their chain’ better.

Unfortunately we cannot leave it up to the specific and the broader legislative environment alone. The almighty dollar is the single-greatest motivator of business; shareholders demanding higher returns and greater savings leads to supply chain problems and failures of visibility and of oversight.

The power of the consumer – by no means the only power in the game but an important contributorin the equation – can be mobilised to help combat human trafficking and forced labour practices.

The mindful consumer, when comparing two cotton t-shirts, one with a certified ‘slave-free label’, and the other without, should have an easy choice. This consumer choice converts into dollars. Shareholders will be swayed, and businesses will start to care enough to look into, and clean up, their supply chains. And we have the evidence from other labelling programmes that mindful consumers exist and can make a difference; going right back to dolphin-friendly tuna, as well as Ethical Cotton, FairTrade, Bio, and Organic labelling etc.

One of the differences with slavefreetrade is that we are about moblising the consumer not to look after their own welfare in the first instance, like bio and organic, but rather to care about someone else.

So, here comes slavefreetrade.org. This is our label.

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Pretty soon, this is what to start looking for in shops.

 

The game is to provide serious repuational risk for those businesses with slavery in their supply chains, and reward in the form of improved marginal sales for those that show they care.

Now, we need volunteers to help us with all the heavy lifting in this startup phase. If you are keen to volunteer your services, including especially helping us build our social media strategy, branding, labellling, and organisational design, we are keen to hear from you. Email us at volunteers@slavefreetrade.org

We are also looking for seed funding, and will soon launch an Indiegogo campaign aimed at initial crowd-funding. Please watch our website for that campaign and, when it launches in the coming weeks, please give generously to contribute to perhaps the most significant demand-reduction initiative in the world.

Let’s give consumers the information they need to make an informed choice about the products they buy.And cut out modern day slavery in the process.

Let’s give slave-free trade a shot.