As the main gateway through which 70% of forced labour flows, the private sector is in a unique position to turn the tide in the fight against modern-day slavery.
Besides having a moral obligation to address this issue, businesses should also be aware of the real economic and business benefits that spotlighting the issue of forced labour can produce. Besides helping organisations avoid legal and regulatory implications, investors and the public are increasingly questioning a company’s anti-trafficking policies, giving businesses that react quickly an opportunity to strengthen their brand as a leader in human rights issues.
Furthermore, adopting ethical practices not only helps protect a company’s brand, it can also enhance staff morale and operational effectiveness. Companies who have taken an active approach in restructuring their supply chain have often been surprised that, in the process of uncovering forced labour, they also discover more efficient ways to operate their businesses.
Possibly the most visible benefit to companies is to avoid the consequences of having the media uncover just one case of human trafficking. One negative story could be all it takes to seriously damage both a company’s reputation and its bottom line, much more than the cost of tackling the issue proactively.
Change will come with a trifold union between the government, NGOs, and private sector businesses, taking a stand against modern-day slavery. For businesses, that means working proactively with organisations like The Mekong Club to gain the expertise needed to properly address the issue.
As forced labour touches nearly every supply chain, no industry is exempt. However, The Mekong Club, is currently working with four industries that we believe are at the front lines in the war against slavery. These four industries are: financial services, apparel & footwear, hospitality providers and retailers.
To learn more about how each of these sectors plays a key role in eradicating human trafficking, please click here.
Together, we can bring an end to forced human labour, by stemming the demand to the point where traffickers no longer have a place to peddle their goods or services.