On August 22, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted an informative webinar on resources available to address issues of forced and child labor. While CBP reiterated their legal authorities and steps they take to combat forced labor, the Departments of State and Labor and a non-profit called Verite discussed resources available to companies which provide outstanding help and guidance on this issue.
It is highly recommended that corporate social compliance personnel take full advantage of the information provided in the Department of State’s annual report called Trafficking in Persons. Typically, this report is published in June and provides information reported from U.S embassies on affected products and on country trends.
The Department of Labor has created two applications, one called Sweat and Toil, which gives insights into the problem of forced labor to include child labor, and, another called Comply Chain, which tells companies how to address the problem.
The Comply Chain app discusses 8 steps to effectively begin addressing forced labor in your supply chain. These include:
- How to effectively engage stakeholders and partners
- Assessing risks and the impact on your organization
- Developing and implementing a code of conduct
- Communication and Training
- Monitoring Compliance
- Remediation of Violations
- Independent Review
- Reporting Performance
Each of these steps provides a treasure trove of materials from helpful advice for setting up a forced labor social compliance program to best practices and developing effective strategies for keeping your company compliant.
Using Comply Chain with Verite’s Responsible Sourcing Tool gives companies a sensible platform for structuring a robust approach to keeping forced labor out of their supply chain.
It was obvious that the government is continuing to take the enforcement of forced and child labor seriously. It is incumbent upon companies to be diligent and proactive to protect their corporate brand and not be an unwitting participant in this heinous practice. Using the aforementioned tool kit and information no one can say they didn’t know.
Please contact Vandegrift with any questions regarding forced and child labor compliance.