This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.
Tackling forced labour in corporate supply chains is difficult, particularly when those supply chains span continents and extend down multiple tiers. To do so successfully requires real commitment from companies, and robust and sophisticated policies rigorously applied, with transparency and vigilance. It is encouraging to see some big corporates leading the way on this front – most notably on the issue of recruitment fees – and we applaud the commitments of companies such as Nestle and Walmart and Mars, and look forward to their effective implementation. But while some corporates are showing leadership, many are failing woefully to meet their obligations, and thereby condemning workers in their supply chains to ongoing exploitation. Some will claim that we shouldn’t call out these corporate failures, and that “naming and shaming” amounts to “beating up” on business. But such claims are simplistic and counterproductive. They are also disrespectful to courageous anti-slavery activists who, often at significant personal risk, investigate and expose abuses in supply chains.