The past decade has seen a growing number of regulatory frameworks directed at tackling human trafficking. Under these frameworks, businesses are required to disclose their efforts to address human trafficking in their operations and supply chains and to conduct human rights due diligence more thoroughly (see, for example, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010, the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law 2017 and the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018). In addition, a plethora of resources has been made available to help business and anti-trafficking organizations identify, prevent and address human trafficking.
But these resources and regulations are not in themselves sufficient to tackle the phenomenon of human trafficking. Within the anti-trafficking community, there is broad consensus that regulations regarding human trafficking in supply chains are rarely enforced. Further, many resources – especially anti-labour trafficking tech tools developed to support business – lack due follow-up and updates, and therefore risk losing momentum. There are also numerous tech tools with similar functions, goals and corporate target users, according to Tech Against Trafficking’s global mapping of tech tools, pointing to a duplication of effort. Coordination between relevant stakeholders from the private sector, anti-trafficking organizations and governmental/law-enforcement agencies is therefore essential to maximizing the efficiency of the available resources.
Enhancing anti-trafficking corporate partnerships
As with many human rights challenges, anti-trafficking efforts require partnership. However, with the recent proliferation of anti-trafficking organizations, it is often difficult for business to find the most relevant partner to work with.
To address this gap, a consortium of organizations (including the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, the RESPECT initiative, the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Global Compact) developed the Interactive Map for Business of Anti-Human Trafficking Organisations in May 2018. The map uses a variety of filters (e.g. by industry, geography, etc.) to home in on the appropriate organizations and initiatives. As of January 2021, the map lists over 200 anti-trafficking entities that the private sector could partner with to combat human trafficking.
An analysis of trends and gaps in the current anti-trafficking corporate partnership landscape reveals that only around one quarter of listed entities support business in addressing recruitment-related issues, despite the fact that abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices are reportedly among the key factors leading to increased vulnerability and labour exploitation in global supply chains.
In addition, the majority of listed entities partnering with business have a cross-industry focus (60 percent), while companies tend to be more industry-specific in the products and services they offer. Similarly, 40 percent of the entities have a global focus, while business might need more region-specific expertise and support in high-risk areas, such as the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. More research and understanding of the impact and effectiveness of these cross-industry and globally oriented entities (as compared to their industry-specific and regional counterparts) is therefore urgently needed.
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