How can we prevent human trafficking for labour exploitation in global supply chains? Mandatory transparency legislation, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, has increased the focus on transparency in supply chains through company reporting.
This report asks two crucial questions at a time when increasing numbers of governments are adopting transparency legislation as a tool to prevent human trafficking and forced labour. Firstly, it explores how to ensure that the steps companies are taking to meet transparency aims have a meaningful impact on the rights of workers. Secondly, it considers what steps should complement transparency in supply chains legislation in order to ensure the pursuit of corporate accountability has workers’ and migrants’ rights at its core. This report questions whether transparency is enough if global efforts to end human trafficking and forced labour are to be successful. It contends that whilst transparency is important it is just one piece of the puzzle needed to tackle human trafficking and forced labour.
This research finds that company compliance with the reporting requirement under section 54 of the UK MSA is low and that even when companies comply, expert stakeholders do not consider the transparency requirement in its current form to drive action that prevents the exploitation of workers in global supply chains. It builds on detailed analysis of legal frameworks for the prevention of forced labour and human trafficking and the enforcement of labour rights in two case study countries: the United Kingdom, which is seeking to become a world leader in the fight against ‘modern 5 slavery’, and Bangladesh, a site of intense scrutiny, in particular since the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy. By considering national legislation and its implementation, the report develops a framework for corporate accountability which links transparency in supply chains legislation with domestic frameworks for the protection of workers’ and migrants’ rights.
Read more here.
Founded in 2013, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) is a research and policy organisation working towards an end to labour exploitation.