[US formerly USPG] A pioneering piece of academic research aims to uncover the links between human trafficking and the global activities of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies – with a view to highlighting best practice so that lives can be saved.
The research is being motivated by a concern that FTSE 100 companies may inadvertently become involved in human trafficking through links with suppliers around the world.
Rachel Parry, Global Relations Director for the mission agency Us (formerly USPG), which is helping to fund the research, explained: ‘Human trafficking is a highly profitable global trade – more profitable than the drugs trade. People who have been trafficked – typically those from poor or vulnerable communities – can end up as slave labour which can be embedded within the supply chains utilised of many well-known companies.
‘Our research will dig deep into the phenomenon of human trafficking, taking as our focus the supply chains of the FTSE 100 companies. We want to explore how human trafficking could be a part of the picture.
‘We want to see FTSE 100 companies better informed to help them ensure there is as little risk as possible that their supply chain is somehow touched by the traffickers’ trade.’
One person is sold every 30 seconds (Finance Against Trafficking). Every year, 1.2 million children are trafficked across or within countries (UNICEF), and up to 800,000 people – mostly women and girls – are trafficked across international borders (US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2007).
Supporting the research with Us are Finance Against Trafficking, Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), and Rathbone Greenbank Investments.
The researchers will encourage FTSE 100 companies to adopt a best practice policy that will help uncover any risk that workers in the supply chain have been trafficked.
There will be a further focus on an advocacy resource raising awareness of human trafficking aimed at among churches, so that they are better informed to join the campaign against human trafficking, both as shareholders and responsible community members. It is also expected that company engagement meetings will be part of this Phase 2 of the project.
The research project began on 30 January 2015 and will conclude later this year with the publication of findings, including proposals for action in the UK to help tackle global trafficking.