‘Ripe for Change’, by Robin Willoughby and Tim Gore, Oxfam

Paper description:

This paper examines the human rights issues in supermarket supply chains, shining a light on how worker and small-scale farmer inequality and suffering correlates with the power and financial reward of big business. The paper also highlights the correlation between supermarket’s power and governments pursuing ‘an agenda of trade liberalisation and deregulation of agricultural and labour markets’ before going on to identify actions that can be pursued to tackle human rights abuses in supermarket supply chains.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International says in her foreword, ‘We all enjoy good food. Cooking our favourite ingredients or sharing a meal are among our simplest pleasures. But too often the food we savour comes at an unacceptable price: the suffering of the people who produced it.’

Read the paper here: https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620418/cr-ripe-for-change-supermarket-supply-chains-210618-summ-en.pdf?sequence=5

‘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

‘Survivor says world at trafficking ‘tipping point’, urges cash crackdown’ by Kieran Guilbert

Article description:

This article was published by Thomson Reuter’s Foundation, news and information company, who are part of a coalition to ‘boost the fight against financial crime and modern-day slavery’. Also, in the coalition is the World Economic Forum, Europol, a policing agency, and Rani’s Voice, an anti-trafficking enterprise.

Rani Hong, slavery survivor and founder of Rani’s Voice says that corporations, governments and charities must share data and work, particularly with regard to finances, to identify and stop human trafficking networks. The role of financial institutions, such as banks, is particularly critical in this space since traffickers rely on these institutions to move and launder money.

United States Banks Alliance, formed by Thomson Reuters Foundation, have launched a toolkit to help financial institutions uncover trafficking in their systems.

Read the article here

Advancing Traceability in the Seafood Industry White Paper – Fishwise

Fishwise released their first White Paper in 2012. This is an updated one and gives key insights into the possibilities and challenges to traceability in the industry. As they state:

It is hoped that this document will create connections across businesses, organizations, and governments to spark conversation and action as to how the seafood stakeholders can collaborate to help improve seafood traceability and eliminate human rights abuses and illegal products from supply chains.

It contains a very good diagram on the Seafood Supply Chain:

FishWise (2017) Advancing Traceability in the Seafood Industry: Assessing Challenges and Opportunities.

It can be read or downloaded at:

www.fishwise.org/images/white_papers/Advancing_Traceability_in_the_Seafood_Industry.pdf