On July 30, Assent joins non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments and responsible consumers in turning our attention toward the global issue of human trafficking and slavery. While there are still roughly 24.9 million people forced into labor around the world, collective progress on the regulatory and civil enforcement front gives us confidence this number will decrease.
Enacted in 2015, the original draft of the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) did not outline expectations for combating human trafficking and slavery in the supply chain. However, pressure from civil society and investors led to the addition of Section 54 to the act, requiring in-scope companies to report on their efforts to identify and mitigate modern slavery risk in both their operations and supply chain.
Expanding Legislation for a Growing Human Trafficking Issue
Since then, countries across the globe have joined the fight against modern slavery, enacting or considering legislation focused on disclosure requirements, trade bans or, in some cases, mandatory supply chain human rights due diligence.
Australia recently introduced a federal Modern Slavery Act, while Hong Kong, Canada and the U.S. are considering enacting their own modern slavery transparency laws. France has passed mandatory human rights due diligence legislation, and Germany and Switzerland are considering similar legislation.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest companies are implementing policies and supplier codes of conduct that communicate their human rights standards, and are strengthening their expectations of suppliers. However, many small and mid-market companies struggle to allocate the resources or budget to comply with the requests of their enterprise clients effectively.
The human rights regulatory landscape is in a constant state of change. Read our ebook, Human Trafficking & Slavery: What It Means for Your Company, to ensure your company is prepared.
Performing Effective Human Rights Due Diligence
With modern slavery enforcement action on the rise, it’s important for any company that sells products globally to survey their supply chain for human trafficking and slavery risk areas. Those who leverage a standard approach can perform due diligence cost-effectively and monitor supplier performance over time. Our subject matter experts have helped facilitate this through the development of the industry-standard Slavery and Trafficking Risk Template (STRT), a spreadsheet-based survey that allows users to determine which of their suppliers are most vulnerable to modern slavery risks.
Back at Assent, product engineers leverage the STRT in our human trafficking and slavery solution. We subscribe to the belief that technology is the future of supply chain sustainability and data is the lynchpin of robust due diligence. Managing survey data from a supply chain data management platform allows companies to build scaling operational efficiencies into their compliance program.
We also provide free education and training materials to companies around the globe, and help Fortune 500 companies implement best practices and procedures. Assent will recognize World Day Against Trafficking in Persons by hosting a webinar on the current human trafficking and slavery landscape.