Created with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Verité has published a new set of free online tools designed to help food and beverage companies better identify, prevent, and address human trafficking or trafficking-related practices in their global supply chains. The suite of tools also provides implementation guidance for the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) “Ending Trafficking in Persons,” which requires U.S. federal contractors to take concrete steps to address and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains.
Available at ResponsibleSourcingTool.org, the new food and beverage tools complement the website’s extensive resources for identifying forced labor risk by sector, commodity, and country, as well as offering practical compliance tools. Past sector-specific tools added to the website include those for the seafood industry.
Trafficking Risk in the Food and Beverage Sector
Worker vulnerability to human trafficking is present throughout food and beverage supply chains. The U.S. Department of State’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report noted trafficking risk in the agricultural sectors in over 90 countries, and migrant workers are highly prevalent in agricultural work, as well as associated food and beverage sectors such as food processing and food service. They are often at heightened risk for human trafficking and other serious labor rights abuses due to a variety of factors that include deceptive recruitment practices, indebtedness to labor recruiters or employers, exclusion from social and legal support mechanisms, and dependence on employers to maintain their legal status. Food and beverage supply chains typically are highly complex and opaque: raw materials like cocoa, coffee, and sugar are traded on commodities markets, making it difficult to trace products to the worksites that engage in unscrupulous labor practices and recruit labor from more vulnerable populations.
The food and beverage tools at ResponsibleSourcingTool.org help companies address these challenges. Offering both preventative and proactive measures that map and define supply chain actors, summarize known modes of trafficking risk, and provide resources and guideposts for industry actors across their supply chains, this set of 14 tools can serve as the foundation for an effective management systems approach to combating human trafficking in a supply chain.
For more information, contact Ilana Cohen.
Photo: shutterstock.com/Liudmyla Chuhunova