How to engage the most vulnerable in your supply chain
(Source: SupplyShift blog)
March 26, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA
(Photo: Source: SupplyShift blog)
To engage with the most vulnerable in your supply chain, start by evolving your company’s culture
There are a number of organizations doing great work to uncover slavery and engage workers within their supply chain. As an industry we have become quite adept at knowing the signs of slavery and setting targets to improve practices within the supply chain. We can all talk at length about our reporting frameworks and training programs, but how do we engage with the most vulnerable in our supply chain? No one ever talks about that.
I myself was in a very precarious situation not too many years ago where I had implemented practices and had done what I had set out to do: I found slavery within my business.
I became aware of the first serious cases of worker exploitation that were within my control and influence on June 19, 2000. Since 2000, I have found countless cases of worker exploitation and what is now referred to as Modern Slavery in supply chains across a wide range of industries. These have included wage abuses as low as 17 pence per hour, sexual exploitation, and service (accommodation/transport) exploitation.
However, my name and the business that I work for is largely irrelevant because I have found victims or high-risk areas in every business that I have ever looked at. In every case, we and those throughout the supply chain can demonstrate that we did not do anything wrong, However, in every case, we clearly did not do enough.
Over the years, I have helped large numbers of people. The businesses I have worked for have received court commendations, awards, and recognition. At the same time, I have also made mistakes and have had to learn some very hard lessons. One specific case resulted in people disappearing and threats being made against myself and my family.
The author of this post has worked across several organizations to advise and assist with human rights tracking and prevention initiatives. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, they have requested to remain anonymous.