White House Hopes to End Slavery in the Supply Chain

Sept. 28, 2012
The Obama Administration has announced an initiative the eradicate forced labor in company’s global supply chains.

The White House has announced a range of efforts to combat human trafficking, including the launch of Slavery Footprint’s Made In A Free World initiative, a program aimed at helping companies eradicate forced labor in their supply chains.

Developed by Oakland, Calif.-based non-profit Slavery Footprint with support and input from the U.S. State Department, various NGOs, Dun and Bradstreet, and Ariba, the Made in a Free World platform provides a process for businesses to:
• Identify high risk areas for forced labor within their supply chain and procurement;
• Work with independent auditors to address those risks;
• Provide ethical procedures for sourcing materials;
• Assess their corporate policies and codes of conduct and adjust them to comply with international and local laws regarding forced labor;
• Receive public and industry recognition for tackling the issue of forced labor head-on.

Launched one year ago, the Slavery Footprint website has enabled over 825,000 consumers in 200 countries and territories to calculate the likely number of slaves involved in the creation of products they use on a daily basis. The results of the completed surveys revealed that individuals have an average of 34 slaves working for them.

Using the website’s online Action Center and associated Free World mobile app, over 320,000 individual actions have been taken, including over 200,000 letters sent directly to companies asking them to provide products made without slave labor. The Slavery Footprint survey and app were created in collaboration with the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The President also announced that the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking in Persons is developing a federal strategic action plan to strengthen services for trafficking victims. In a related effort, the interagency Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC) will develop a domestic human trafficking assessment to track trends within the United States, enabling both law enforcement and service providers to deploy resources more effectively. These efforts will be assisted by the intelligence community, which is increasing its focus on human trafficking internationally, and working more closely with the HSTC here at home.

In addition, the newly created Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking, a business-to-business network, will mobilize its members to fight trafficking, including through the identification and development of best practices.