International Programs To Combat Trafficking in Persons: Focus on Supply Chains
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) has supported a variety of programs to address human trafficking in supply chains. During the past year, grantees have helped expand knowledge and understanding of the complex nature of supply chains, identified harmful labor recruitment practices, and implemented strategies to prevent trafficking and empower workers. The following examples highlight some of these efforts.
Improving Labor Recruitment Practices
In 2014, the TIP Office funded two public international organizations to begin research on abusive recruitment practices known to facilitate human trafficking and emerging responses to protect individuals, particularly migrant workers, from such abuses. This coordinated research included three stakeholder meetings and field surveys conducted in different countries and regions of the world. Two global reports, including findings and recommendations aimed at improving recruitment practices, were jointly released in June 2015. These reports will build support for shaping international norms regarding labor recruitment and human trafficking.
Protecting Workers in the Carpet Industry
In Afghanistan, a grantee is working to prevent human trafficking in the carpet industry and strengthen worker protections through supply chain monitoring. Results of a household baseline survey identified home-based looms and carpet production for domestic use as major sources of exploitation for children in Afghanistan. In response, the grantee organization is partnering with an Afghan-owned and operated company to monitor home-based looms and carpet production and has provided support services for more than 250 vulnerable weavers and their children.
Analyzing and Addressing the Risk of Trafficking in Global Supply Chains
With TIP Office support, a labor rights NGO has conducted research to identify key sectors and commodities at risk for human trafficking globally. The final report provides a framework for federal contractors and other corporations to evaluate the risk of trafficking or trafficking-related activities in global supply chains. It analyzes a range of sector-specific, social, economic, and political risk factors in countries of production or service delivery and in countries that supply the labor. The report identifies 11 sectors and more than 40 primary commodities as most likely to have conditions that may contribute to exploitation and place people at risk of human trafficking or trafficking-related activities. Findings from the research are guiding the development of tools and resources for federal contractors and businesses to analyze such risk, adopt ethical sourcing guidelines, and develop compliance plans that align with Executive Order 13627—Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts. Beginning in the fall of 2015, these tools will be publicly available at www.responsiblesourcingtool.org.
Advocating for Migrant Worker Rights
In partnership with local NGOs, a TIP Office-funded grantee in Bangladesh is advocating for enhanced protections of Bangladeshi migrant workers and educating those workers bound for the Middle East and East Asia. The project has integrated anti-trafficking training into the Government of Bangladesh’s orientation program for migrant workers, which provides valuable information on worker rights, indicators of trafficking, and mechanisms for worker recourse if exploited overseas. Every month, an estimated 1,000 migrant workers receive the training, reaching more than 10,000 migrants so far.
In Jordan, a grantee is empowering migrant workers in the textile and domestic work sectors through a rights-based approach to victim protection and prevention. The organization has partnered with local trade unions to conduct outreach and educational activities to identify trafficking victims, establish effective service referral networks, and improve legal protections for migrant workers.
In Thailand, a grant recipient in collaboration with local partners is working to reduce the vulnerability of migrant workers, especially those from Burma and Cambodia, to human trafficking. The project promotes better access to justice for trafficking victims through legal advocacy and awareness-raising activities, including weekly radio programs focused on labor laws and migrant worker rights.
Reducing Labor Trafficking in the Fishing Industry
In East Asia, the TIP Office is supporting a research project to investigate trends in labor trafficking in the Republic of Korea’s fishing industry. The project will conduct research into exploitation among fishermen from neighboring countries. The findings will guide recommendations to initiate policy dialogues within the South Korean fishing industry and foster regional cooperation in efforts to reduce labor trafficking in the East Asian and Southeast Asian fishing industries.