The Evolving Human Trafficking & Slavery Landscape: A Growing Threat to Production

The Evolving Human Trafficking & Slavery Landscape: A Growing Threat to Production

Most companies enlist their compliance teams to manage their human trafficking and slavery due diligence requirements. However, they often don’t acquire human rights data from their suppliers, despite having the most to lose from failing to do so.

Although most product compliance professionals already acquire data to comply with hazardous substance legislation such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, few are evaluating suppliers for human trafficking and slavery violations. This is often because they have assigned those business priorities to a different department, which can be a problem, considering those other teams may lack the resources or buy-in to effectively manage new due diligence activities.

Legislation is expanding in every major selling region, and enforcement bodies are telling the world’s largest companies that failure to conduct due diligence will not go unchecked. The UK government is naming and shaming companies that have yet to file disclosures; the U.S. is issuing new Withhold Release Orders (WROs) to stem the tide of tainted goods entering the country; and new regions, including Canada and the UK, are writing human rights due diligence into federal procurement policies.

Find out why your production schedules need human trafficking and slavery data to stay on track in our guide “Expanding Your Platform to Manage Human Trafficking & Slavery Data.”

Companies cannot afford to only think of these issues in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). If human trafficking and slavery violations prevent materials and parts from shipping to factories, it’s a product problem. Human trafficking and slavery enforcement can interfere with production in a number of ways, including:

  • Withheld shipments of crucial goods.
  • Damage to the reputation of your products.
  • Lost access to selling regions.
  • Voided federal contracts.

Legislators accept that human trafficking and slavery won’t be eradicated overnight, but instead focus on encouraging companies to show year-over-year improvement in their due diligence efforts, supply chain risk assessment and the administration of corrective action plans. Still, many companies haven’t begun evaluating their supply chains and acquiring the data they need to keep their products on the market.

Solutions, best practices and toolkits are emerging to help companies perform cost-efficient and effective due diligence. The Slavery & Trafficking Risk Template (STRT) is one such tool. It helps companies engage their suppliers through a simple, Excel-based format, and aggregate suppliers by risk level — a key stepping stone toward mitigating risk without having to invest in an expensive audit program.

Build value and best practices into your human rights due diligence program with Assent’s Human Trafficking & Slavery Module.

A supply chain data management solution can work in tandem with these solutions by automating send-outs, follow ups and verifications, allowing your company to enhance and redeploy resources toward your company’s core business goals such as proactive product design.

In addition to performing these tasks, the Assent Compliance Platform can provide companies with regulatory expertise and Managed Services that go above and beyond a standard software offering. That’s why Assent has the market-leading human rights due diligence solution.

For more information about how Assent can help your company build cost and operational efficiencies into your human trafficking and slavery due diligence program, contact our experts at