The environmental benefits of the large-scale recycling industry are significant — landfill waste is reduced, pollution is minimized, greenhouse gases are reduced, and natural resources are preserved, among others. In many locations, the recycling sector is rapidly expanding as companies, governments, and NGOs recognize the critical impact recycling can make. However, what is often hidden in these efforts are the abusive and often hazardous conditions under which material is collected for reuse.
Verité’s exploratory research into the labor conditions in Guatemala’s sugar industry has revealed a high degree of vulnerability to labor trafficking in this sector. This research found evidence of recruitment abuses, child labor, restrictions on workers’ right to freedom of association, gender-based discrimination, wage and hour violations, threats to workers’ health and safety, inhumane living conditions, and negative impacts on communities surrounding sugar plantations.
Verité’s report, The Nexus of Illegal Gold Mining and Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains, starkly highlights how illegal gold mining throughout Latin America is tied to human trafficking, which will be of interest to the wide variety of companies and retailers that sell products containing gold.