A core element of Verité’s mission is to engage substantively with a full range of entities, organizations, and institutions, sharing insights and information to strengthen labor compliance internationally. Verité employees regularly participate in conferences, panels and roundtables, contributing to work on policy, developing new programs, and educating on labor rights abuses. This article presents a selection of events some of our employees have attended over the past six months.
 
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) Annual Work Planning Summit,Washington, D.C. Attended by Erin Klett, Senior Director, Research and Policy.
ATEST is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world.
 
American Apparel and Footwear Social Responsibility Committee, Seattle, Washington
Wenjuan Yao, Verité China Director, co-presented the results of Verité’s work with Gap Inc. on the worker sense of value and engagement assessment.
 
Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, participated in a panel discussion with representatives from the U.S. Department of State, Stardust Fund, Freedom Fund, and Marriott International. The City of Houston is pursuing a variety of innovative approaches to combat human trafficking, including implementing municipal procurement provisions that consider contractors’ anti-trafficking due diligence efforts.
 
Department of Health and Human Services’ National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center, Washington, DC
Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, participated in an experts’ workshop, providing input on how HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can establish protocols to reduce the risks of human trafficking related to natural disasters and create practical tools and resources for a wide variety of actors to reduce risks associated with the unique aspects of trafficking after a natural disaster.
 
Erin Klett, Senior Director, Research and Policy was a panelist at the event hosted by The Customs Lawyers Association in partnership with the Young Trade Professionals and the International Trade and Investment Law Society on emerging issues arising in forced labor policy, best practices, and enforcement.
 
Participant: Sarah Lince, Senior Program Manager. Representatives from the Government of Qatar, business leaders, members of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as civil society organizations discussed reforms in labor law recently introduced by the Government of Qatar pertaining to foreign workers, including policies prohibiting fees paid by jobseekers and policies establishing routes for workers to move between employers.
 
Micro Expert-Workshop on Modern Slavery and State Responsibility,  New York, New York
Jointly organized by King’s College London and UN University, Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, presented on challenges and opportunities in government regulation of international labor recruitment.
 

Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative Supplier Conference, Hyderabad, India

Declan Croucher, Senior Director of Advisory Servicesand Dr. Aqueel Khan from ASK India conducted a workshop on Managing Forced Labor Risks in Subcontracted Workforces. The same workshop was delivered in Shanghai, China by Jack Chen, Training Program Manager at Verité China.
 
Department of Defense (DoD) Combating Trafficking in Persons Task Force, Washington, DC 
Erin Klett, Senior Director, Research and Policy presented the Responsible Sourcing Tool, a website that helps companies, federal contractors, contracting professionals, and others understand and prevent risks of human trafficking in supply chains.
 
The Responsible Business Alliance Annual Conference, Santa Clara, CA
Declan Croucher, Senior Director of Advisory Services participated in a panel session during the Forced Labor track at the RBA Annual Conference titled “Remediation: Best Practices and Emerging Standards.”
 

Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, traveled to Australia and met with companies, civil society organizations, union, government, and religious officials interested in Verité’s experience with both public and private approaches to supply chain compliance. New regulations in the state of New South Wales and impending federal-level requirements for companies have created great interest in socially responsible public procurement and supply chain transparency on policies and practices to fight forced labor in supply chains. Shawn was also the keynote speaker at the Monash University conference “Beyond compliance: Towards Credible Disclosure and Action on Modern Slavery and Labour Exploitation in Supply Chains.” 

 

Sarah Lince, Senior Program Manager participated in discussions that resulted in a document entitled “Roadmap for African Labour Mobility,” an outline of policy and civil society strategies for fostering labor mobility and addressing challenges such as risks of forced labor and human trafficking or other labor abuses faced by African migrant workers.
 
Training of Trainers for Labor Inspectors on Child Labor in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Trainer: Lisa Cox, Senior Program Manager. Following a June launch in Nepal, a new curriculum on identifying, eliminating, and preventing child labor was introduced in Burkina Faso. This training program is part of a larger US Department of Labor-funded project called Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labor II (CLEAR II). The curriculum will be introduced in Belize at the end of November and in Liberia the first week of December.
 
Participants: Alli Arbib, Director, Research Program, and Sarah Lince, Senior Program Manager. To help mitigate the lack of clarity and consistency in understanding what costs of procuring labor constitute recruitment fees and related costs that would be applicable under the Employer Pays principle, representatives of workers’ organizations, governments, employers and industry organizations, and intergovernmental organizations came together to discuss developing consensus on definitions.
 
Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, participated in a forum of leaders from the cross section of Alliance 8.7 partners, including states, social partners, international organizations, businesses, civil society organizations, and universities. Verité is sharing its expertise on child labor and forced labor to support the promotion and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7.