Slavery is illegal in all countries yet today there exists a thriving, pervasive, highly-profitable industry called ‘modern slavery’ with some 50 million people - mainly women and children - trapped and being forced to work in dehumanizing conditions for little or no pay.
A lack of supply chain transparency is the principal enabler of modern slavery. Increasingly complex, integrated global supply chains have made it virtually impossible to tell whether products stamped “Made in XYZ” have at some stage used slaves or underage children in producing them.
For business, anti-slavery legislation has created a compliance conundrum: it requires companies to investigate their entire supply chains - right back to sources of raw materials - which presents four compliance roadblocks for reporting entities.
The G20 countries – the world’s 20 most advanced economies – import 80% of the goods made by slaves. While it’s less than 5% of our imported goods, we - businesses and end-consumers - are the ones unwittingly enabling the callous exploitation of this global subclass of humanity.
G20 governments, businesses and the capital markets must take the lead if we are to rid the world of this modern-day scourge.
The Solution: a coordinated, collaborative global effort.
Everyone has a role to play.
Slavery is illegal in every country. Governments need to lead the elimination of modern slavery by enacting effective MS legislation, enforcing compliance, and addressing any in-country human rights issues as they emerge.
Businesses need to diligently comply with modern slavery legislation - ensure their direct operational network (DON) is slave-free and respond in a timely, responsible way to slavery situations outside their DON as they are discovered by SlaveCheck.
Umbrella NGOs and in-field NGOs need to support and where appropriate participate in funded MS projects and programs: provide in-field intelligence; guide solution design and implementation; hold business and government to account; and monitor the in-field effectiveness of MS solutions.
End-consumers unwittingly enable modern slavery by buying the goods they produce. End-consumers have perhaps the most crucial role to play in eliminating MS by holding brands and retailers to account in providing transparency around ‘slave-free’ products as a condition of purchase.
The rise of 'Responsible Investing' - underpinned by ESG reporting - has added another level of governance in the quest to eliminate modern slavery. Ethical investors can exert powerful influence in supply chains by using slavery transparency as a requirement to investing or staying invested.
A Global Governance Framework
The SlaveCheck Foundation coordinates and manages the slavery elimination program through a framework of integrated executive programs, as shown in the organisational chart to the right. Each program is led by a Program Director who reports to the CEO / Executive Director, who reports to the Board.
The Solutions Platform allows this to be coordinated at scale to support the magnitude of the global modern slavery problem. That could involve managing up to 1 million individual slavery situations averaging 50 people each to address the 50 million people trapped in modern slavery.
The Solutions Platform is provided at no cost as the 'for purpose' side of SlaveCheck's 'profit-for-purpose' model.
What's the cost to fix the problem?
Social development experts advise that the best solution to modern slavery is to pay workers a 'living wage': sufficient pay to support a family with a decent standard of living (food, clothing, housing, healthcare, utilities, education, transportation, savings), earned from a job with decent working conditions.
Economic analysis has estimated the price increase required to pay living wages at 1% of the final cost of goods or:
5 cents on a $5 T-shirt
This is more than offset by the benefits of supply chain transparency: up to 14% increase in sales for ethically labelled products; and expected cost savings from supply chain innovation which will likely flow through to lower prices for consumers.
The only losers will be the criminals profiteering from slavery.