Saluting “Slavery in the Supply Chain” Watchdog

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In conjunction with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on ending modern slavery, the White House has announced a range of efforts to combat human trafficking including the launch of Slavery Footprint’s “Made In A Free World” initiative, the first program of its kind aimed at helping companies eradicate forced labor in their supply chains.

Developed by Oakland-based non-profit Slavery Footprint, with the support and input from the State Department, leading NGOs, Dun and Bradstreet, and Ariba, the “Made in a Free World” platform is the first to provide a process for businesses to:

• Identify high risk areas for forced labor within their supply chain and procurement
• Work with independent auditors to address those risks
• Provide ethical procedures for sourcing materials
• Assess their corporate policies and codes of conduct and adjust them to comply with international and local laws regarding forced labor
• Receive public and industry recognition for tackling the issue of forced labor head-on

The launch of the Made in a Free World platform builds on Slavery Footprint’s successful efforts to spark a consumer-driven movement to end forced labor. Launched one year ago this week, the Slavery Footprint website has enabled over 825,000 consumers in 200 countries and territories to calculate the likely number of slaves involved in the creation of products they use on a daily basis. The results of the completed surveys revealed that individuals have an average of 34 slaves working for them. Using the website’s online Action Center and associated Free World mobile app, over 320,000 individual actions have been taken, including over 200,000 letters sent directly to companies asking them to provide products made without slave labor.

According to Justin Dillon, the founder and chief executive of Slavery Footprint, the Made in a Free World platform will give businesses the tools and support they need to meet the growing consumer demand for products created without forced labor

“The overwhelming response to Slavery Footprint proves that consumers care deeply about this issue and will support companies that do what is right not only for humankind, but for their business,” said Dillon. “We have a created a global movement that will now support and promote companies that use the Made in a Free World platform to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains.”


Dillon added: “The Made in a Free World platform is about using the free market to free people.”

The Slavery Footprint survey and app were created in collaboration with the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. It has won numerous international awards, including Best Activist Site from the SXSW Interactive Awards.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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