27 Corporate Leaders in 6 High Risk Sectors are Urged by Global Investor Coalition to Institute Policies to Eradicate Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery from their Operations and Supply Chains.

New York, NY – Recognizing the broad influence of business on the global supply chain, an investor coalition representing over 90 organizations worldwide and led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has issued a statement asking 27 companies to take a leadership role in abolishing human trafficking and slavery.

“It is no longer acceptable for companies to avoid this issue: each must do its part to eradicate the threat of human trafficking and slavery within its spheres of influence,”said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management. “As investors, we view the material risks as a compelling business argument in favor of putting formal protections in place.  But there is also a powerful moral call to action for the business community at large to use its voice to raise awareness about these egregious violations.”

Every year over 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders for the purpose of enforced labor while millions more are enslaved within their own countries. Because traffickers target the economically vulnerable, women and children are especially susceptible to this crime.

Delivery of the statement was timed to coincide with the U.S. State Department’s release of its 10th global Trafficking in Persons Report which ranks countries on anti-trafficking measures. Further, the investor statement references the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act of 2010 and the Conflict Minerals Special Disclosures Provision of the Dodd-Frank Act as clear indicators that anti-trafficking measures will soon be broadly mandated via legislation.

Sr. Kathleen Coll of Catholic Health East said, “Many companies such as Carlson, Gap, HP, LexisNexis and Manpower have taken a preemptive approach that shows great leadership and will help focus worldwide attention on this issue. Today we are asking market leaders in high risk sectors to proactively confront trafficking and slavery head on both in word and deed.”

The investor statement, signed by more than 90 organizations and investor coalitions in the U.S., Europe and Africa, outlines a series of steps companies can take such as impact assessments, employee training and participation in awareness raising campaigns.
Companies receiving the statement are considered market leaders in high risk categories with the ability to influence their respective sectors including Li & Fung (Apparel), Costco (Retail), Cisco (Technology), ADM (Agriculture), American Airlines (Travel and Tourism) and Nestle (Food and Beverage).

“ICCR members have long challenged corporations to be leaders in the struggle to eradicate modern day slavery,” said Rev. David M. Schilling, ICCR’s Director of Human Rights and Resources.  “We agree with Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (Director of the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons) who said at a recent modern day slavery conference in Rome, ‘It will take private-sector corporations collaborating with countries across regions to trace the supply chain of cheap goods and figure out where trafficking exists and how to fight it.’”

Susana McDermott
Director of Communications, ICCR

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (www.iccr.org):
Currently celebrating its 40th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change.  Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.

Published On: June 27, 2011Categories: From the Commons