New Report Details Corporate Liability Risks Regarding Labor Trafficking in Supply Chains

Washington, D.C. – As part of the 4th Annual Human Rights Summit, Human Rights First today issued a new report titled “Corporate Liability and Human Trafficking,” which analyzes how companies may be held legally responsible for human trafficking in their supply chains.


“Corporations need to be aware of the potential liability they face if forced labor is taking place anywhere in their supply chains,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “By knowing the risks they face, companies can take proactive steps to root out the problem of human trafficking. This will allow them not only to protect their investments but make huge strides in the global effort to combat modern slavery, which is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.”


Today’s report details the legal and regulatory environment related to criminal activities associated with  human trafficking  forced labor, which continues to evolve as global focus on accountability for human rights violations increases.  Federal and state governments in the United States have recently adopted—and continue to consider—laws and regulations designed to strengthen governmental capacity to combat human trafficking and prosecute those directly or indirectly involved. While many such laws and regulations are focused on civil sanctions against direct perpetrators, more recent efforts seek accountability for individuals and entities indirectly culpable for, among other things, failing to halt trafficking within their businesses’ supply chains.  Awareness of this rapidly-developing area of law will provide companies with the resources available to help them take proactive measures to prevent human trafficking in their supply chains.


A new poll released today conducted by Harris Interactive and Human Rights First, found that 82% of Americans believe companies should be held accountable for slavery and human trafficking when it occurs in their supply chains. More than half of Americans polled also identified ending human trafficking as one of the most important human rights issues today, while more than 75% of those polled said that the United States is not providing enough support for combating human trafficking.


The release of today’s report coincides with the 4th annual Human Rights Summit, where  international human rights activists, U.S. government officials, policy experts, and business and military leaders from across the political spectrum and around the world to discuss contemporary human rights challenges and opportunities for American leadership. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will address the Summit at 2:45 p.m. EST today, followed by a panel discussion on how the United States can work with businesses and other governments to eradicate slavery from their supply chains. The panel can be streamed live here.


“There is a clear consensus that human trafficking is not only a top of mind issue for most Americans but is one that will require cooperation between the business community and the U.S. government to meaningfully address,” added Eviatar.


Published on December 9, 2015


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