Human trafficking and slave labor is a $32 billion underground industry, according to a CNBC documentary. There is, however, something being done to prevent that saddest of industries. Both California and the EU passed laws to prevent human trafficking during the last two years. Then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Supply Chain Transparency Act into law on September 30, 2010. The Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2012, requires retailers and manufacturers in California to disclose their efforts to stop human trafficking and slave labor from their direct supply chains. The law affects retailers or manufacturers with over $100 million in annual worldwide gross receipts.
The Act created an Interagency Task Force to monitor and combat trafficking. In addition, the Act requires the California Franchise Tax Board to make available a list of retailers and sellers to the State Attorney General required to disclose efforts to stop slavery and human trafficking.
EU directive to prevent human trafficking and slavery
The EU adopted a directive to prevent and combat human trafficking and protect victims in April 2011. Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Home Affairs, called the passage of the directive “a very important step towards a comprehensive and more effective European anti-trafficking policy.”
Malmstrom added, “The new ambitious rules adopted today will keep the EU at the forefront of the international fight against human trafficking by protecting the victims and punishing the criminals behind this modern slavery.”
UN Human Rights Council issues updated Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights
The UN Human Rights Council issued an updated version in June of the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. The updated Guiding Principles provides a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of impacts on human rights linked to business activity, according to a press release.
“The Councilís endorsement establishes the Guiding Principles as the authoritative global reference point for business and human rights,” said John Ruggie, the Secretary-Generalís Special Representative for Business and Human Rights. “They will also provide civil society, investors and others the tools to measure real progress in the daily lives of people.”
Ruggie, a professor at Harvard University, spent six years doing research for the Guiding Principles.
Photo: Flickr user Will Hale