About the Author: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca leads the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
In our commitment to preventing human trafficking, the world is moving beyond poster campaigns to more innovative solutions that harness the private sector to end the demand for modern slavery. I wanted to share some new developments on that front.
On October 1, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires certain major companies to publicly post their efforts to eradicate trafficking and slavery in their direct supply chains. By acknowledging both the prevalence of modern slavery in consumer goods and the interest of the state in enabling consumers to make educated choices, Senator Darrell Steinberg crafted a piece of legislation that has the potential to fundamentally change how corporations engage on this issue.
In the past, forward leaning companies hid their best practices out of fear of being a brand associated with modern slavery, while irresponsible companies excused their inaction by pointing to impossibilities that simply aren't. Modern day slavery exists in the shadows, but corporate policy should not.
Together, civil society, local government, and federal government must ensure that the information is acted upon AND leveraged, making today's best practices tomorrow's industry standards, and building opportunities that move us closer to comprehensively addressing trafficking in persons throughout our supply chains.
That's why I'm heartened to see companies like LexisNexis lead before they are asked by pulling together businesses who have always led on this issue and those who stand to break new ground within their industries. In its inaugural meeting yesterday, the Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (BCAT) began to explore how business can engage in real ways to combat both sex and labor trafficking and establish business protocols that build upon rather than undercut rule of law.
I look forward to watching these efforts unfold and wish them great success.