7 Essentials to Help Companies Fight Human Trafficking

How Companies Can Identify Human Trafficking Threats in Their Pipeline

The Catholic Church has always provided support and hope for countless individuals that have suffered from trafficking crimes. CBIS’ unique role as a faith-based investment advisor helps us to bring a truly Catholic perspective to our own efforts, on behalf of our client institutions, to defeat human trafficking. The U.S. State Department’s Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report suggests that through the creation and implementation of ethical codes with high standards for companies and their supply chains, the private sector can work to ensure that their activities do not directly or indirectly encourage or perpetuate trafficking.

In our ongoing dialogues, CBIS focuses on 7 essential elements to a solid corporate strategy aimed at eliminating these crimes for good:

1. Create and implement strong and substantive human rights policies for the company and its suppliers
2. Analyze corporate activities and relationships and how these affect people and their rights in order to prevent human rights abuses
3. Determine high-risk sectors and regions in order to eliminate risks in the supply chain from human trafficking
4. Collaborate with local government authorities, social service agencies, and non-profit organizations to help victims
5. Review, develop, and implement auditing mechanisms to ensure compliance with corporate human rights policies
6. Train staff, suppliers, vendors, contractors, and auditors to better understand company policies, how to effectively implement them, and ways to avoid the risks associated with inaction.
7. Produce a robust and substantive annual report on programs and practices, including measurements of progress and success

While the complexity of supply chains makes it difficult for companies to be fully aware of the working conditions involved in the production of goods and delivery of services, CBIS encourages companies to take a preemptive approach to confront and combat human rights abuses and monitor their activities around the world. Given the multitude of suppliers used throughout a production process, there can be great risks to companies from human trafficking. Company awareness of these risks and knowledge of the ways that traffickers may use a company’s products, services, or workplaces in connection with their trafficking activities can help companies avoid negative publicity, business interruptions, potential lawsuits, public protests, and a loss of consumer trust, all of which can impact shareholder value. Monitoring suppliers can help companies to ensure that measures are in place throughout the company’s entire supply chain. The TIP Report is helpful in this regard – it places countries in Tiers based on their efforts to combat human trafficking (laws, enforcement, criminal penalties, prosecution, government programs, victim protection efforts, etc.). The Tiers help to inform corporate decisions about sourcing goods or opening factories, as they highlight countries where vigilant policies and oversight are needed.

We believe companies that address human trafficking issues head-on are helping to reduce human suffering, and in turn, are helping to protect long-term shareholder value by managing risk.