20 Responsibility Issues
> Modern Slavery


Introducing The Issue 

Are there slaves in your supply chain? Modern slavery is a multibillion dollar shadow industry enslaving people through supply chains in developed and developing nations alike. It encompasses child slavery, bonded labour, forced and compulsory labour, descent-based slavery, early and forced marriage, and human trafficking.

3 Simple Questions

Responsible 100 has developed some introductory questions to help you explore this important issue and your organisation's exposure to it. Please respond with as much relevant information as you can. Our current questions are available via this Google Form.  


Definitions

Modern slavery
A widespread, complex global crime taking a number of different forms. It encompasses child slavery, bonded labour, forced and compulsory labour, descent-based slavery, early and forced marriage, and human trafficking.

Bonded labour
The most widespread form of slavery in the world. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan.

Child Labour
The exploitation of children through any means that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend school, and is mentally, physically, and morally harmful. It is not slavery, but nevertheless hinders children’s education, development and future livelihoods.

Child Slavery
Any institution or practice whereby a child or young person under the age of 18 years, is delivered by either both of his natural parents or by his guardian to another person, whether for reward or not, with a view to the exploitation of the child or young person of their labour”.

Child Work
Some types of work make useful, positive contributions to a child's development. If children help out in a family farm or business, the tasks they do must be safe and suited to their level of development and comply with national labour laws. Children's work should not jeopardise any of their other rights, including the right to education, or the right to relaxation and play.

Descent-based Slavery
This describes a situation where people are born into a slave class, caste or group viewed as being in slavery by other members of their society.

Direct Involvement
Employing a trafficked or exploited person within the business or through a subcontractor or recruitment agency

Early and Forced Marriage
Child marriage can be said to be slavery if the child:
>> has not given their free and informed consent to enter the marriage
>> is subjected to control a sense of “ownership” in the marriage itself (through abuse, threats, exploitation to undertake domestic chores within or outside the marital home and/or engage in non-consensual sexual relations)
>> cannot realistically leave or end the marriage, leading potentially to a lifetime of slavery

Forced Labour
All work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.

Human Trafficking
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Indirect Involvement
Through illegal subcontracting occurring within supply chain or through use of products or materials which have been produced by people under conditions of forced labour

Involvement By Association
Where trafficking occurs within the local area as the result of a company’s operations, or as a secondary consequence of a company’s actions.

The Kafala system
A system where sponsors have a set of legal abilities to control workers: without the employer’s permission, workers cannot change jobs, quit jobs, or leave the country.

Transparency in Supply Chains
Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (United Kingdom), which seeks to address the role of businesses in preventing modern slavery from occurring in their supply chains and organisations by requiring business to provide a statement every financial year. Guidance has been published to assist businesses reporting on their supply chain.

Exploring The Issue

Modern Slavery is a widespread, complex global human rights abuse that takes a number of different forms. It encompasses child slavery, bonded labour, forced labour, descent-based slavery, and human trafficking. The 2018 Global Slavery Index estimates there are 40.3 million people living in some form of modern slavery globally. It is worth noting that estimates are difficult and certainly underrepresentative of the true nature of slavery, given its underground nature. The numbers that international organisations are able to uncover are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the actual number of victims. If you are interested in learning more about the different forms of slavery including where they are most often found and what sectors they are most prevalent in, please look in the additional resources section of the Trumpet for a break down of each type.

According to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) most recent figures, there are over 21 million victims of forced labour today, with 16 million of those working in the private economy – primarily in agriculture, construction, domestic work, manufacturing, mining and utilities – and it has become increasingly clear from both government and civil society perspectives that business must play an integral role in the fight against this global crime.

Abuse of labour is not an issue limited to developing countries. Statistics from the International Labour Organisation from 2012, finds that the Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced labourers in the world at 56% of the global total, followed by Africa and Latin America. However, the profits that come from modern slavery do not always line up equally with the regions where slavery is most common. Based on the 2014 Global Estimate of Human Trafficking, the ILO has calculated that illicit profits from the use of forced labour in the private economy amount to US $150.3 billion, 46.9% of which comes from the profits of developed economies like the US, the UK, and the EU.

Using the United Kingdom as an example, Parliament passed The Modern Slavery Act into Law in 2015 that required ‘commercial organisations’ with a turnover of more than £36 million to publish an annual statement on slavery in their organisation and supply chains. Despite this, the NRM is now reporting similar numbers of trafficking cases in one quarter as they used to in an entire year. Estimates of trafficking victims in the UK had ranged from 10,000 to 13,000, but this is likely a gross underestimate of the true numbers. The very nature of slavery as it exists today requires it to operate within the shadows of society. Traffickers take advantage of industries with little to no regulation in order to hide victims in plain sight and use trauma and fear to prevent victims from asking for help. Traffickers know how to cover their tracks so effectively that even the most well-intentioned businesses may uncover forms of slavery within their operations.

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