SPECIAL ISSUE ON
IMPACT OF CORPORATE AND CONSUMER RESPONSIBILITY
ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
We promise to stand with people who are poor by seeking out and addressing critical needs,
particularly in those places where our presence could make a difference.
--Promise Chapter 2006
January 11th is National Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Awareness Day
PRINCIPLE III: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
b. Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.
All over the world slaves are forced to work and supply us with the things we buy. Raw materials and commodities like cotton, sugar, iron, gold, diamonds, coffee, timber, fish, cocoa, as well as goods like clothing, shoes, toys, and bricks come from slave labor. These commodities and goods flow into the global product chain and arrive in our homes. Businesses can help stop slavery by taking responsibility and cleaning up their products chains. As consumers, the last step in that product chain, each of us has to take responsibility as well. –Adapted from Free the Slaves
If you have no time to read the entire JUST Notes, click on the following link to watch a 2½-minute video on how businesses are involved. http://www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=333
Globalization offers financially struggling nations a chance to boost living standards through exports to wealthier countries, but globalization without a conscience can lead to entrenched poverty and the persistent abuse of local populations.
– Adapted from Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS)
For example, in a transnational context, certain destination countries may "benefit" from increased revenue from taxes, sex tourism, or other sources associated with the receiving and exploitation of foreign national victims within their borders. –Adapted from Polaris Project
Most American companies would prefer that their global suppliers
respect workers’ and children’s fundamental rights and provide their employees
with working conditions that meet acceptable local standards. – Adapted
But businesses that support the trafficking industry generate millions in profits from their involvement. Some businesses are acutely aware of their involvement, like hotels, landlords, or advertisers, while others, like airlines and banks, may find it is more difficult to isolate the traffickers and customers among their clients. Unfortunately, the profits generated usually outweigh any reservations they may have about it, and because the facilitators are rarely if ever prosecuted for their role, they face negligible risk. Practices that facilitate trafficking, like corruption, are often motivated by profit or the vested self-interest of powerful groups like males who use the sex industry, or by corporate powers that tolerate horrific working conditions for the poor. –Adapted from Polaris Project
• Human rights remains as one of the most challenging areas of corporate citizenship. In part, this is because human rights have traditionally been the concern of states, and international human rights law has generally been addressed to them only. As more companies come to realize their legal, moral and/or commercial need to address human rights issues within their own operations and activities, they are confronted with a number of challenges. For example, there is the need to come to grips with the human rights framework and how a company’s own activities might relate to it. In addition, companies are often uncertain how to avoid complicity in human rights abuse and where the boundaries of their human rights responsibility lie. –Adapted from UN Global Compact
A desire for cheap goods and services or commercial sex drives the demand-side, facilitated by a disregard for the trafficking conditions from which the customer is benefiting.
–Adapted from Polaris Project
Also, most Americans and
most consumers in the world market would not choose to purchase goods known to
be produced by exploited children or forced laborers at any price. But, buyers
in today’s globally integrated marketplace face an array of choices when they
shop. In addition to the usual price considerations, many consumers and buyers
would like to weigh other factors before making purchasing decisions: Who
produced this product? How, and under what conditions, was it produced?
However, there is a huge gap in information available to consumers about the
processes and labor practices that produce the goods in our markets. – Adapted from the
SOME OF THE MANY SECTORS IMPACTED
Children are falling
prey to sex trafficking in American-owned hotels all over the world, and even
right here at home. Just last month, 5-year-old Shaniya Davis was sold for sex
at a Comfort Inn in
While tourism is not the cause of child sex tourism, it is a channel that provides offenders with a way to gain access to children. Child sex offenders use facilities and services offered by the travel industry – travel agents, airlines, hotels, taxis, tour operators, etc – and as such the tourism industry is well-placed to play a vital role in protecting children. Interactions of the tourism sector with the child sex trade can be defined in different levels: direct, indirect or potential. Direct interaction corresponds to those businesses who knowingly publicize, promote, and receive sex tours as well as to the operators of establishments and premises where abusers meet and sexually exploit children, namely accommodation facilities, entertainment centers, leisure areas, etc. –Adapted from ECPAT
FAIR TRADE COFEE
Non-Fair: Pickers (may include children) are paid a couple cents for every pound of coffee they harvest. Harvested coffee is sold to wholesalers or collectors for washing and drying. It is transported and sold at
auction by exporters to a roasting company. The company roasts and blends it with other kinds of coffee and prepares it for the final consumer. When it reaches your cup it has been marked up 1200-1500% (or more to the largest markup the market allows) from the prices that are paid to farmers.
Fair: No children will be pickers! Pickers are paid a living wage. The farmer sells the coffee to the Fair Trade Cooperative of which he is a member. The cooperative washes, dries, and packages the coffee for sale and shipment to Alternative Trading Organizations (ATOs) for a minimum of $1.26 per pound. The ATOs roast and package the coffee for sale to the final consumer. –Adapted from Fair Trade
FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE
North Americans and Europeans consume 80% of the cocoa supplied by the third world. When you buy a 75¢ candy bar, 70¢ goes to the company, 5¢ to the farmer. M&M, the largest chocolate producer in the world, has annual profits of about $16 billion per year. Yet M&M refuses to buy fair trade chocolate. Fair Trade chocolate ensures a living wage to those who harvest cocoa and helps eliminate the need to resort to child trafficking. –Adapted from Fair Trade
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
Socially Responsible Investors — including ourselves, the Boston
CSJ's and the
Over the past year, Socially Responsible Investors have written
letters to 130 apparel and home furnishing companies asking how they are
addressing the violation of children’s rights resulting from state sponsored
forced labor in
In June 2008, the UN Human Rights Council welcomed the “Protect, Respect, Remedy” (PRR) policy framework put forward by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights (SRSG). In its resolution…the Council underlined the state’s duty to protect people from abuses by or involving non-state actors, including business. It also affirmed that business has a responsibility to respect all human rights. And it stressed the need for access to appropriate and effective judicial and nonjudicial remedies for those whose human rights are impacted by corporate activities. – Adapted from the Institute for Human Rights and Business
The US Department of Labor released a long-awaited list of
country-specific goods likely made with child and slave labor in September
2009. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have introduced a
Customs Reauthorization Bill (S. 1631) that will restrict the import of goods
made by child and slave labor. 122 goods were identified and found to be
produced with forced labor, child labor, or both, in 58 countries. Agricultural
crops comprise the largest category, followed by manufactured goods and mined
or quarried goods such as gold and coal. The most common goods in manufacturing
listed are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture;
bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear. – Adapted
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) is a global network of organizations and individuals working together to eliminate child prostitution, pornography and trafficking for sexual purposes. ECPAT with the collaboration of ECPAT International, funded by UNICEF and supported by the UNWTO established a Code of Conduct to encourage the tourism industry to collaborate and respond against the use of its networks and establishments for child-sex tourism. – ECPAT International
Changing long-standing attitudes or practices in society and the government sector often presents some of the most serious challenges to the anti-trafficking movement. But experiences in several countries during the past few years suggest that passage of new anti-trafficking legislation is an efficient means of achieving this change. In many cases, it is easier to change an enforcement practice (for example practices affecting children abused by the sex industry) by adopting a new legal paradigm than it is to attempt to alter enforcement of existing laws that have been traditionally neglected. Generating public awareness around trafficking can lend support to institutional reform efforts and place consumer pressure on complicit businesses. –Adapted from Polaris Project
If you think or suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline 1 - 888 - 3737- 888.
Stop The Demand For Products Made By Child And Slave Labor - Urge your Senators to ensure that S. 1631 - Customs Reauthorization Bill includes strong restrictions on imported goods made by exploitative labor practices. http://capwiz.com/ipjc/issues/alert/?alertid=14466851.
Take action to prevent child prostitution by sending a letter to Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, telling him to sign the ECPAT Code of Conduct and commit to preventing child sex tourism in Choice Hotel hotels. http://humantrafficking.change.org/actions/view/tell_Choice_Hotels_to_prevent_child_prostitution_in_their_hotels
Make sure whenever you buy coffee that it is Fair Trade certified coffee; ask your local coffee shop for Fair Trade coffee. http://www.equalexchange.coop/
Take a look at the “List of Country-Specific Goods Likely Made with Child and Slave Labor.” (See pages 29 – 44) http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/PDF/2009TVPRA.pdf
CASTLA - http://www.castla.org/
Christian Brothers Investment Services - http://www.cbisonline.com/
Code of Conduct - http://www.thecode.org/
ECPAT International - http://www.ecpat.net/EI/index.asp
Fair Trade www.ocdc.coop/fairtrade/coffee.htm
Institute for Human Rights and Business - http://www.institutehrb.org/
U.N. Global Compact - http://www.unglobalcompact.org/AboutTheGC/
God of Justice,
You have given all of your children
human dignity and human rights.
Help us recognize the dignity and the rights
of all of human kind.
Open our hearts to hear your teachings,
open our eyes to the suffering
of those who are denied
their basic economic, social, political and social rights.
Let our voices join in declaring
all humanity is sacred, all human rights must be respected.
Amen –Education for Justice