About Us |
Contact Us |
LexisNexis Business Solutions
Holiday traditions vary. Whether you festoon a Christmas tree with sparkly baubles and tinsel, light a menorah for Hanukkah or tackle feats of strength for Festivus, gift-giving and holiday parties are likely part of your tradition too. But these seasonal celebrations have a dark side—the risk of child labor or forced labor hidden deep in the supply chain.
In fact, according to the Global Slavery Index 2018 by the Walk Free Foundation, one in every 800 people in the U.S. is a victim of forced labor. Moreover, imports are a driving force behind forced labor, with an estimated $144 billion worth of at-risk products imported annually. Many of those at-risk products are part of the holiday season—both in the gifts that are given and received and the hors d’oeuvres at annual gatherings. Even coal is an at-risk product.
With greater awareness into the issue—and a robust due diligence and risk monitoring program in place—companies AND consumers can help bring an end to the corruption that traps people in dangerous, low-paid work situations.
Unwrapping the secrecy behind forced labor
After the Industrial Revolution, child labor was legal—and commonplace—in the United States. Then 80 years ago, the Fair Labor Standard Act made it illegal to employ children under 16 for most jobs and under 18 for dangerous jobs. Today, however, child labor is rife around the globe. The International Labour Organization estimates that 152 million children between 5 and 17 years old are victims of child labor with 73 million engaged in hazardous work. According to the data:
Forced labor also impacts 40.3 million adults. And it’s not just happening in emerging nations. While the U.S. has laws against forced labor—and, indeed, against the import of goods made with forced labor—the problem still exists.
Many companies are committed to eradicating forced labor from their supply chains, but it is an uphill battle given the complexity of global supply chains. Best practices for mitigating forced labor risk include: