Global Supply Chain Stakeholders Putting More Heat on China to End Slavery

As we have noted several times in the recent past, the world has more slaves today than any other time.

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While many supply chain stakeholders are currently concerned with containing the spread of an epidemic emanating from China, other major industry players are keeping their eyes fixed on addressing another scourge yet to be wiped out: Slavery

As we have noted several times in the recent past, the world has more slaves today than any other time.

This week a group of prominent manufacturing and retail leaders comprising The National Retail Federation, The American Apparel & Footwear Association, The United States Fashion Industry Association, and RILA have spoken with one voice against ongoing supply chain abuse.

“We work together to identify and eliminate forced labor, and conditions that can lead to forced labor, in the countries from which we source products,” observe the coalition, adding that they find the ongoing situation “intolerable.”

At the same time, the group is actively engagingcountries all over the world to advance respect for human rights.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of forced labor and the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority workers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and elsewhere in China,” state the group. “The reported situation is of a scale, scope, and complexity that is unprecedented during the modern era of global supply chains.”

As acknowledged by both the U.S. government and non-government experts, the conditions in Xinjiang and the treatment of ethnic minority workers from the region present profound challenges to the integrity of the global supply chain, including issues of transparency, access, and auditing.

“Accepting the status quo is not an option,” maintains the shipper coalition.

In a statement , they also note that Companies across the industry are considering all available approaches to address the situation. Brands and retailers are drawing on expert guidance and assembling industry stakeholders to address the situation:

“We are framing these actions through the lens of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and our own commitment to the fair treatment of workers in our supply chains. Our members have expressed strong concerns to their suppliers and reiterated that suppliers must maintain a supply chain that is free of involuntary and forced labor.”

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

View Patrick 's author profile.

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