’20 EU countries see rise in modern slavery risks – Study’, Verisk Maplecroft

Article description:

Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consultancy firm, estimated that in 2017 modern slavery risks rose in 20 of the 28 members states of the European Union.  Senior Human Rights Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft states, with regard to Europe, ‘The migrant crisis has increased the risk of slavery incidents appearing in company supply chains across Europe’. The migrant crisis includes the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian war.

Read the article here: https://www.maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2017/08/10/20-eu-countries-see-rise-modern-slavery-risks-study/

‘2018 information and communications technology benchmark findings report’, Know the Chain

Report description:

In this report KnowTheChain looked at this question,’are the largest information and communications technology companies in the world doing enough to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains?’ Each company received an overall benchmark score, ranging from zero to 100 which was determined with regard to weighing seven themes equally: commitment and governance, traceability and risk assessment, purchasing practises, recruitment, worker voice, monitoring and remedy. In this study KnowTheChain evaluated 40 companies and the average benchmark score was 32 out of 100. Further, the two areas that were thought in this report to have the most impact on workers’ lives, worker voice and recruitment, were the lowest scoring themes.

Read the report here: https://knowthechain.org/wp-content/plugins/ktc-benchmark/app/public/images/benchmark_reports/KTC-ICT-May2018-Final.pdf

‘Business Starts To Take Human Rights Seriously As Laws And Benchmarks Start To Bite’, by Mike Scott, Forbes

Article description:

This article centres around a report from the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) , a non-profit company, that have ranked corporate performance on human rights. Steve Waygood, chair of the CHRB Board and chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, says that issues such as modern slavery are correlated with financial performance and that companies that don’t engage in solving this issue ‘may risk restricted access to capital due to repetitional damage and regulatory backlash’.

Overall, however the report notes increased human rights reporting and commitment to transparency by companies and a “race to the top” culture on the issue of human rights.

Read the article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2018/05/21/business-starts-to-take-human-rights-seriously-as-laws-and-benchmarks-start-to-bite/#8ce84907f5db

‘Tackling modern slavery in global supply chains’, by Kevin Hyland OBE, The British Academy

Blog description:

This blog post is written by the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE. This is an incredibly powerful, informative and inspirational read. The closing sentence states, We have incumbent upon us a moral duty to stop privileging price and profit over the basic wellbeing and rights of people who are just like you and me, but happen to have been born into different circumstances.’ Kevin Hyland focuses in particular on the role of the private sector in this blog post. He states, too often in my role as Commissioner, I have been told that solving forced labour in the private sector is ‘impossible’, particularly with regard to the Global South. It is not; rather, this is wilful blindness to the solutions needed’.

Read blog here: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/tackling-modern-slavery-global-supply-chains

‘Australia imports $12bn worth of goods at risk of being made by slaves – report’ by Ben Doherty, The Guardian

Article description:

In this article Ben Doherty examines and gives specific examples of slavery globally and domestically. With regard to the slavery of people within Australian borders, the article states that the highest risk industries in Australia, are the hospitality, construction, agriculture and sex industries (and notes that it also occurs in private homes and within families). With regard to the slavery of people internationally for Australian use, the article states that the highest risk products are electronics, garments, rice and cocoa.

Read the article here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/20/australia-imports-12bn-worth-of-goods-at-risk-of-being-made-by-slaves-report?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

‘Towards the urgent elimination of hazardous child labour’, International Labour Organisation

Report description:

This report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) builds upon a previous report from the ILO published in 2011 called ‘Children in hazardous work: What we know, what we need to do (ILO-IPEC, 2011)’. This new report is said to  be based on new evidence ‘aiding better understanding of why this worst form of child labour persists and uncovering new interventions that might have more chance of eliminating it’. It was estimated by the ILO in 2017 that there were 152 million children in child labour and that almost 73 million of these were engaged in hazardous work.

Read the report here: https://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_IPEC_PUB_30315/lang–en/index.htm?mc_cid=01c926b680&mc_eid=4743844cbe

‘Modern Slavery’ by Emily Scott, Wellbeing for Women

Article description:

Emily is a volunteer with Stop the Traffic and is currently working in Cambodia at the United Nations Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

In this article Emily looks at the influence of governments, businesses and consumers on modern slavery, contextualises modern slavery, and discusses what needs to be done to combat this human rights violation. She particularly focuses on the role of business, highlighting that of the world’s top 100 economic entities, 69 are corporations, and just 31 nation states, demonstrating the immense power of business in the world. Also noted is the importance of legislation in this sphere and the impact of consumer perspective.

Read the article here: https://wellbeingforwomenafrica.rit.org.uk/modern-slavery

‘Seeing slavery in seafood supply chains’, by Katrina Nakamura et. al., Science Advances

Article description:

The authors of this paper won the grand prize in the Partnership for Freedom challenge 2016 for their work developing technological solutions that can identify and address slavery and trafficking in goods and service supply chains. They designed a five-point-framework, called the Labor Safe Screen, and collaborated with eighteen food companies to test the results of implementing the framework. The results showed that companies can reduce forced labor using the framework. 

Read the article here: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/7/e1701833

‘What’s in your mobile phone?’ from The Signal Team

Podcast description:

Cobalt is used to stabilise batteries, making them safer, and is used in so many of our everyday items including our phones. Most cobalt comes from unregulated mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that are staffed partly by children, from 4 to 5 years old. In 2014 UNICEF estimated there were 40,000 children working in cobalt mines in the south of the DRC, and this has thought to have since increased as demand for cobalt has soared and also doubled in value in the last year alone. Everyone that is engaged in the mining of cobalt is exposed to serious health risks, from the people in the mines to the people above ground cleaning and sorting the cobalt. It’s toxicity causes respiratory problems and even fatal lung disease, and in the mines it has been reported that the loss of limbs is not uncommon as well as tunnels collapsing, trapping people who are left to die. A survivor on the episode said that when somebody gets injured nobody is allowed to help them. Staff are working from the early hours of the morning without any food or water.

It is suggested that we call the companies we buy our household items from and find out from where they source their Cobalt.

Listen to this podcast here

‘Modern Slavery Bill passes House of Representatives’, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs

Press release description:

Some items Senator Linda Reynolds, who welcomed the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill, noted in her media release:

  Australia will be the first nation to recognise orphanage trafficking as a form of modern slavery.

– More than half of the world’s victims are exploited in the Asia-Pacific region meaning that many of our products and services as Australians may have forced labour in their supply chains. The Bill will give Australians the opportunity to make more informed decisions about their purchases.

– The Bill will have international impact, improving workplace standards and practices.

Read the press release here