Thursday, July 26, 2018

Modern slavery, in supply chains and around the world

The Global Slavery Index recently issued its report for 2018.
They say: "In the context of this report, modern slavery covers a set of specific legal concepts including forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking."

While we're apparently all lucky not to live in N. Korea, the report doesn't stop there. For one thing, it suggests that a lot of supply chains may involve involuntary labor of various sorts.  The NY Times headline summarizes the aspects of the report that might be of most concern to readers of this blog:

Report Finds Surprisingly High Rate of Slavery in Developed Countries

"The 2018 edition of the index estimates that more than 40 million people around the world are trapped in modern slavery — including what Walk Free called a surprisingly high number in developed nations like the United States, France, Germany and others.

“Given these are also the countries taking the most action to respond to modern slavery, this does not mean these initiatives are in vain,” the survey said. “It does, however, underscore that even in countries with seemingly strong laws and systems, there are critical gaps in protections for groups such as irregular migrants, the homeless, workers in the shadow or gig economy, and certain minorities.”

"In the United States, more than 400,000 people, or one in 800, are living in modern slavery, the report said. The United States is also the largest importer of what the report called “at-risk” products, or those at least partly manufactured by workers engaged in forced labor.

"These products, estimated to be worth at least $354 billion, include mobile phones, computers, clothing and food like fish and cocoa, the report said. The United States imports more than 40 percent of the total."

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