by Brianna Crandall — February 10, 2017 — Recent attention from media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have cast light on how prevalent human trafficking and slavery are across the globe, with effects on the labor force and supply chain transparency around the world. The Global Slavery Index estimates 45.8 million people are in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries, and it is estimated 13,000 men, women and children endure modern slavery or forced labor in the U.K.
Multinational companies with global supply chains who realize that their own operations may be supporting the practice often struggle to incorporate information and methods into their due diligence programs to tackle the issue. In addition, regulations such as the U.K. Modern Slavery Act (said to be the first piece of legislation of this nature worldwide) and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act have increased the urgency of establishing sound practices to support public disclosure requirements on the subject.
In light of this, U.K.-based business standards company BSI’s recent Human Trafficking and Supply Chain Slavery Index reveals that the United Kingdom is exposed to an increased risk of modern-day slavery entering the country from 66% of nations around the world.
Russia, Slovakia, India and Pakistan, according to the Index, are all “severe risk” source countries of “modern-day slaves” to the U.K. Of the G7 nations, Italy is identified as a “high risk” nation – partly due to the conflict in Syria. Greece and Turkey are additionally categorized as ‘high risk’ countries.
BSI’s Trafficking & Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index is a new way for businesses and organizations to assess and avoid the risks posed by slavery and trafficking. The Index is said to be unique in cross-referencing source countries of displaced people, and their likelihood of being exploited in destination countries.
The presentation of tens of thousands of pairings of source/destination countries and their relative risk provides a broad understanding of the breadth of threats to global supply chains. These include human rights abuses, security threats and business continuity risks.
In the U.K., the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) is highlighting the issue of modern slavery and human trafficking, and the risk to business of finding examples of it in global supply chains. Several high-profile court cases have highlighted the irresponsible practices that are occurring in full view across Britain.
U.K. Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland, OBE, stated:
Evidence suggests labor exploitation is rife in the UK. Construction, agriculture, hospitality and seafood are core sectors in my work against modern slavery. Along with statutory agencies, government departments and NGOs, it is incumbent on companies to drive out any forms of exploitation.
BSI’s unique Trafficking & Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index shines a critical light for business, government, and civil society to understand the risk associated with the movement and exploitation of people between 191 source countries and 193 destination countries. Each combination of countries has been ranked from low to severe based on the risk score.
The Index’s inputs include BSI’s proprietary SCREEN Forced Labor Intelligence along with independent trafficking and exploitation data, economic disparity, and countries’ geographical proximity information. The data has been verified against the citations made by credible sources to provide a holistic understanding of the probability of these types of abuses, threats and risks as well as real-world documented cases.
Chris McCann, principal consultant, Supply Chain Services and Solutions at BSI, said:
The Index, along with BSI’s risk management services and solutions, empowers organizations to focus their efforts on identifying and assessing “at-risk” suppliers and to manage the risks proactively. In doing so, progressive organizations will lessen their exposure to operational disruption, reputational damage, financial — including share price volatility — and potential legal consequences.
For further information visit the BSI Trafficking and Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index Web page.