Getting Slavery Out of Supply Chains

SupplyShift Staff

July 08, 2016

An anti-slavery bill signed by Pres. Obama back in February will put increased pressure on many US businesses to find and fix bad practices within their supply chains. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act primarily targets the fishing industry, and eradicates an age-old exemption in the US Tariff Act. That exemption allowed goods created under poor working conditions to be procured if consumer demand could not otherwise be met.

Supply chain issues within the fishing industry have been on the radar for a number of years. The new law follows several other pieces of legislation that have been passed in the past few years globally—most recently, the California Transparency Act and the UK Modern Slavery Act.

The fishing industry has received attention since 2014, when laborers on Thai fishing boats were found to be working under abusive and slave-like conditions. Thailand’s $7.3 billion seafood industry has been found to lean on hundreds of individuals traded as slaves. The new law will have a major impact on the US seafood industry, as 90 percent of seafood found in American households is imported.

The World Wildlife Fund reported in 2015 that more than 85 percent of imported fish might originate from conditions of illegal and unregulated fishing. At the time of the Thai fishing scandal the US State Department’s anti-trafficking ambassador believed that the problems were due to a lack of enforcement, with businesses involved in the seafood industry not being adequately held to account.

SupplyShift provides tools for engaging with the supply chain around issues like trafficking, health & safety and the treatment of workers. The platform improves transparency in the supply chain by using sophisticated technology to highlight risk in an organization’s network. Allowing for a completely customizable process, SupplyShift can support any product, in any industry, in any location and can help to tailor responses to shifting and complex global risks. In the past year SupplyShift has undertaken pilot studies in both the coffee and the wood & paper industries, creating a collaborative approach and developing a robust network of organizations set to tackle challenges on a global scale.

If you would like to join an existing network or pioneer a new network within your industry please contact SupplyShift at info@supplyshift.net.

SupplyShift Staff

July 08, 2016