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Slave Labor Plays Prominent Role In Worldwide Supply Chain

Human RightsAccording to Verite, a think tank whose mission is promoting the ethical treatment of laborers worldwide, at least one in three foreign workers who responded to their recently released survey on slave labor in the Malaysian electronics market toils in conditions of forced labor.


The Verite report, released September 17, was the culmination of a two-year survey conducted in Malaysia. The report concluded that since many of the world’s most recognizable brands utilize components for their products manufactured in Malaysia, nearly every device on the market may have come in contact with modern-day slaves.

Meanwhile, human rights groups are diligently seeking to end such practices. For example, human rights organization Walk Free Foundation is urging ethical companies worldwide to be certain slave labor is not utilized in any of their supply chains. The organization recently published a 33-page guide as a way to educate companies and governments about how to spot such unsavory behavior. The guide also includes suggestions for tackling cases of modern slavery while creating incentives for suppliers to improve methods for overseeing their workforce.

According to Peter Nicholls, the CEO of global business accreditation for the Walk Free Foundation, slavery in supply chains is tantamount to an abuse of human rights. He called on businesses worldwide to combat the immoral treatment of workers, imploring them not to pursue profit over human rights.

The Australia-based organization estimates that 30 million people worldwide are trapped in slavery, primarily in domestic and manual labor pursuits. The Walk Free Foundation claims the industries most likely to utilize slave labor include construction, tea, cocoa, fishing and manufacturing.

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For its part, the International Labour Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, recently published a report outlining the dangers of using slave labor and how companies can combat it.

In a survey released by the foundation earlier this year, fewer than half of the 30 nations that responded had regulations in place discouraging investors from doing business with firms using slave labor, or laws and policies criminalizing the use of slave labor in supply chains.

Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and freelance writer. She writes about law, business, marketing, travel and homes and gardens. Her email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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