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Tackling the “Barbaric Evil” of Modern Slavery

Tackling the “Barbaric Evil” of Modern Slavery

Some 34 million men, women, and children worldwide are living in modern slavery. Learn how you can shine a light into the darkest corners of your supply chain, to prevent modern slavery becoming part of your supply chain and help to stamp out the great human rights issue of our time.

The new British Prime Minister, Teresa May calls it, “The great human rights issue of our time,” and, “A barbaric evil." It is something that’s rarely witnessed but is happening every day in front of our eyes: modern slavery.

You might think slavery disappeared with the dodo. You’d be wrong. Recent British Government estimates suggest there may be up to 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK alone. Worldwide, the figure runs to as many as 45 million. A U.S. Labor Department report on goods produced by child labor or forced labour lists 136 products from 74 countries—from carpets in Nepal to fish in Thailand.

Modern slavery is all around us. You see it in domestic staff held against their will, women forced into prostitution, and workers in fields, factories, and fishing boats. You may also find it nail bars, car washes, or among people living in rundown caravans, where they are exploited for hard labour. Modern slavery collects all types of people too: men, women or children of all ages—and it is most prevalent among the most vulnerable, minorities or socially-excluded groups.

So May is taking action. In July, her new Government announced a UK cabinet taskforce to tackle the “sickening and inhuman crimes," together with £33m (€38 million) from the aid budget to fund initiatives overseas. The announcement was made on the first anniversary of the Modern Slavery Act, which ironically May was charged with leading when Home Secretary.

The goals of the task force are many and varied. It will review the impact of the Act 12 months on from its launch. It will work collaboratively with law-enforcement agencies across the world to track and stop the gangs who operate across borders and jurisdictions. And it will manage an International Modern Slavery Fund, focused on high-risk countries.

Slavery in the supply chain

Modern slavery isn’t just a social challenge though: many organisations are susceptible to it. Slavery can occur at any point in the supply chain, from the collection of raw materials to manufacturing and product development. And eliminating the practice from your supply chain is not simply the right ethical thing to do—it’s responsible business.

So how do you combat the threat of modern slavery occurring at any stage in your supply chain? As a retailer, how do you ensure your produce isn’t picked by workers forced into the role for exploitation? As a mobile phone manufacturer, how do you make sure certain vulnerable people are not involved in any phase of the phone production—even the mined commodities that form the basis of the silicon chips?

You take action, and you proactively monitor your supply chain for the risks.

Dun & Bradstreet’s Human Trafficking Risk index (HTR) shines a light into the darkest corners of your supply chain, assessing your suppliers for the risk that they have been involved in modern slavery. The HTR blends D&B’s corporate database—the world’s largest, with more than 250 million company records—with data from the International Labor Affairs Bureau and the U.S. Department of State. An analytic index evaluates the potential for one of your suppliers to be involved in human trafficking based on the location of the supplier and the product or commodity type they provide. Allowing you to prioritize who in your supply base to monitor first.

The HTR is easy to use too. You simply provide Dun & Bradstreet with a list of your suppliers, and we match those to the HTR index to return the rating (from 1 to least risky to 7 for most risky) for your suppliers. You receive the rating as a file you can use and share internally to determine which suppliers demand deeper scrutiny.

As many as 45 million men, women and children are living in modern slavery. This is your opportunity to help stamp out modern slavery and ensure they aren’t in your supply chain. Using the HTR index, you can take the first step in being certain the partners you do business with share the same ethical and brand values as your own company.

You can understand the risks in your supply chain by taking advantage of our free Human Trafficking Risk Scan – click here to get started today.

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