ATEST Applauds Introduction of Federal Business Supply Chain Transparency Legislation
For Release: August 7, 2015
Washington, DC – The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) applauds the introduction of the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 (S. 1968), companion to H.R. 3226, championed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), this bill would require public companies with annual worldwide receipts above $100 million to include in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a disclosure describing measures taken to identify and address conditions of forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking, and the worst forms of child labor within a company’s supply chains. Importantly this legislation includes both the production of goods as well as labor and services in supply chains.
“Businesses shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the working conditions of people who make their products. This bill marks an important step toward making sure they can’t. American consumers want and deserve to know what’s behind the food, clothing, and other goods and services they use every day,” said Melysa Sperber, Director of ATEST.
As the world’s largest importer, the United States is in a unique position to demand information about the goods and services people use. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor identified 136 goods from 74 countries made by forced and child labor. Passing this bill would strengthen U.S. leadership in reducing human trafficking and forced labor by empowering the public to make informed decisions about the products they purchase and the companies in which they invest.
“Free the Slaves commends Senators Blumenthal and Markey for introducing the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015. The State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report makes clear that slavery and human trafficking taint many of the products we purchase. The private sector must play its role in combatting these crimes. This is the first time a supply chain transparency measure has been introduced in the Senate. We urge other members of the Senate to join in addressing the presence of trafficking and forced labor in supply chains. Consumers and investors want to know that they aren’t buying or investing in slave made goods. This bill, if passed, will create incentives to produce services and goods untainted by extreme exploitation.” Maurice Middleberg, Executive Director, Free the Slaves.
“After the positive impacts the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) has seen in businesses operating in California after the passage of SB 657, The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010, CAST is excited to see an even stronger version of this legislation introduced federally. This important legislation will help ensure survivors like the individuals CAST serves in the United States, and those enslaved around the world are protected by companies and consumers’ better understanding of how the goods and services are utilized in their supply chains and how exploitation and human trafficking can be prevented in the long-term.” Kay Buck, Executive Director, CAST.
“ECPAT-USA strongly supports the introduction of the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 as it will encourage companies to examine how their business practices might inadvertently promote both labor and sex trafficking. ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct has made companies aware of what they can do to protect children from trafficking. Our experience is that they are happy to do it once encouraged.” Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA.
“The private sector has a unique and important role to play in the global fight against human trafficking and modern slavery. This legislation helps address the complex challenges of slavery in supply chains by improving reporting and increasing transparency. With better information about which companies are taking the most action, everyday consumers can make more informed decisions about the kinds of companies they want to support.” Bradley Myles, CEO, Polaris.
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a U.S. based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), International Justice Mission, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, Vital Voices Global Partnership, and World Vision. ATEST is a project of Humanity United.