In previous Vision articles, we have highlighted the fact that forced labor victims around the world are connected to multinational companies by labor supply chains that are hidden behind opaque layers of third-party intermediaries. The mere presence of these intermediaries can indicate a high risk of human trafficking and forced labor, yet companies lack visibility into labor supply networks and the performance of third-party intermediaries within them. Verité consistently advises companies that holding foreign subsidiaries, joint ventures, franchisees, contractors, and suppliers accountable for the entire foreign contract labor supply chain is the single most effective step they can take to mitigate risk and effectively uncover and address the root causes of trafficked workers and forced labor in supply chains.
Fortunately there is a lot of information now available about the third party labor intermediaries that populate supply chains. Verité is currently working on a philanthropically funded pilot project to create a labor broker risk screening tool that will enable companies to unravel complex labor supply chains and identify risks of human trafficking and forced labor within them. The initial stage of the pilot focused on electronics production in Southeast Asia.
Working closely with participating companies, Verité integrated existing corporate supply chain data, targeted field research on recruitment patterns and networks, and pertinent public information into a state-of-the-art database platform. Verité experts then analyzed the integrated data to illuminate particular labor supply networks and flag specific risks connected to one or multiple companies’ supply chains. This data, augmented by Verité’s high-quality analysis and targeted recommendations, was pushed to web-based applications that provided companies with valuable information and actionable insights. The current phase of the pilot project is focused on participants’ user interface and how the integrated data is displayed. The next phase is expanding the pilot to additional companies in electronics production and in due course other high risk sectors in Southeast Asia such as apparel, construction, and agriculture. Over time, specific migration corridors such as South Asian migrants in construction in the Middle East, or Latin American migrants in agriculture in Central America and the United States will be added.
For more information contact Declan Croucher.