Anti-Slavery Day serves as an important reminder of the continuing problem of modern-day slavery and forced labour worldwide. Many products and services we purchase and use daily are manufactured or carried out by individuals trapped in forced labour.

An estimated 27.6 million people find themselves trapped in various forms of forced labour across the globe. It’s important to shine a light on these challenges and discuss how businesses can contribute to tackling this cause, within their supply chains. Modern slavery can exist at various stages of a supply chain, from raw material sourcing to product manufacturing and distribution. Identifying and addressing slavery within these stages is very important.

In this blog we will delve into this alarming issue and examine how our supply chain management software, can empower businesses to combat such problems more effectively through our comprehensive modules.

Illustration of Modern-Day Slavery and Forced Labour

In recent years, reports have unveiled the horrifying reality of Uyghur Muslims being subjected to forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region. The Chinese government has been accused of systematically violating the human rights of Uyghurs through forced labour practices:

  • Forced Labour Camps (Re-education Camps): China has established an extensive network of internment camps, often termed “re-education camps”. There Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained against their will. Detainees are frequently subjected to forced labour, including the manufacture of goods, agricultural work, and other labour under tough conditions. See here more details about the UFLPA.
  • Cotton Industry: Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton. Uyghurs have been compelled to work in cotton fields under harsh conditions. The cotton produced in Xinjiang is widely used in the global textile and apparel industry, implicating various international supply chains. Consequently, the clothing we wear could be connected to this issue, as almost 20% of the world’s global cotton production is tied to China’s forced labour of Uyghurs.
  • Fishing Industry: Uyghur individuals are forced into difficult work, including fish processing, often in inhumane environments. At least a thousand Uyghurs have been dispatched to work in seafood-processing factories in Shandong. Seafood products processed in Xinjiang may infiltrate global supply chains, raising concerns about the potential involvement of international companies in using products processed with forced labour.

These instances of forced labour not only violate basic human rights but also constitute a deeply concerning element within the global supply chain.

The role of our supply chain management software

Businesses must take a proactive measures to eradicate modern slavery and forced labour from their supply chains. Our Supply chain management software serves as a powerful tool to aid companies in more visible and sustainable supply chain. Modern supply chains are increasingly complex, particularly with the involvement of international suppliers. Therefore, with our platform, the businesses can establish the transparency which is necessary for enhanced monitoring and advancement of ethical practices throughout the supply chain.

Our key modules can be employed to address the issue of forced labour within the supply chain:

Document Management Module: facilitates the collection, organisation, and verification of critical documents from suppliers about key policies, contracts, employment agreements, payroll records and documents such as modern slavery policies and supplier codes of conduct. These documents can be examined to ensure that suppliers are not engaging in forced labour or exploitative practices. With document management businesses can clearly convey their ethical standards to suppliers and hold them accountable. Robust document management practices enable companies to actively participate in addressing these serious human rights issues.

Dashboards Module: combines all risk data into a customised view, empowering businesses to gain a comprehensive view of their supply chain. This visual representation of critical data simplifies the identification of potential issues, risk assessment, and proactive measures. Dashboards foster transparency within the organisation and supply chain by making information accessible to various stakeholders, including executives and auditors. This transparency fosters informed decision-making and collective efforts to address labour-related issues.

ESGnius Module: the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Assessment within this module includes a range of questions related to labour practices. This is making it an invaluable tool for evaluating the ethical performance of suppliers. The module also offers an API with Country Risk data to assess the geopolitical and social context in which suppliers operate.

Location Report: helps businesses gain insights into the specific regions where their suppliers are located. By overlaying supplier data onto geographic maps, the report can assist companies in evaluating their suppliers in relation to high-risk areas. Also, highlighting potential concerns related to labour practices and human rights in specific regions. Continuous monitoring of locations and suppliers allows businesses to proactively respond to emerging risk factors or incidents.

Audits & Assessments Module: Regular audits and assessments of supplier practices are essential for ensuring compliance with labour standards and ethical guidelines. They identify vulnerable areas and potential risks related to forced labour and modern slavery. As well as, compliance audits ensure that suppliers adhere to ethical and legal labour practices, providing detailed insights into the compliance status of the supply chain.

Certification Module: We provide certifications for companies that meet strict ethical standards, offering a credible sign of commitment to eradicating forced labour. The certification tool provides a full picture of supplier status and corresponding details against leading schemes. This enables businesses to ensure that their suppliers meet the necessary certification requirements, further affirming their dedication to ethical and humane labour practices.

Businesses should have a moral responsibility to actively combat these issues within their supply chains. Our supply chain management software helps you identify, assess, and mitigate the risks of forced labour. By implementing these tools, you can play a vital role in ensuring ethical and humane practices in the supply chains. Ultimately contributing to the eradication of modern slavery.

Together, we can make a difference during Anti-Slavery Day and beyond.

Get in touch with the Authenticate team to discover how we can tailor our modules to suit your business.

For more information on the Authenticate platform or to discuss your challenges and requirements, get in touch with the team.