Recently, a spotlight has been placed on the issue of modern slavery, also called human trafficking, which exists in nearly every country in the world. The electronics industry has a particularly key part to play in controlling and ultimately ending bonded labor, debt bondage, forced child labor, and other crimes against humanity throughout the supply chain.
Preventing Human Trafficking In Global Supply Chains, a report released in July by the U.S. Department of State, articulates it this way:
The fluid nature of the crime means traffickers can target vulnerable workers anywhere to fill labor shortages everywhere along a supply chain. In the electronics sector, for example, human trafficking may exist in the extractive stages (mining for raw material), in the component manufacturing stage (where separate pieces are produced or combined), and in the production stage (where a good is assembled and packaged in a factory).
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated in 2014 that forced labor in the private economy accounts for $150 billion in criminal profits annually. Unfortunately, tracing through the web of contractors, subcontractors and trading partners can be nothing short of impossible.
Countries worldwide have embraced and expanded the implementation of what has been dubbed the 3P paradigm: prosecution of trafficking cases, protection of victims, and prevention of the crimes in the first place. Governmental programs, though, need the support of industry.
The infographic below, from Assent, provides a handful of steps that electronics OEMs can use to avoid being part of the human trafficking problem. Although suppliers to the Federal Government are mandated to take these steps, they are a good start for any organization who want to be part of putting an end to human rights violations.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN