Complex and opaque, food and beverage supply chains make it difficult to trace products to work sites that engage in unscrupulous labor practices and recruit labor from more vulnerable populations. Worker vulnerability to human trafficking is present throughout food and beverage supply chains, as well as in the agricultural sectors of more than 90 countries. The use of migrant workers is rife with deceptive recruitment practices, and indebtedness to labor recruiters or employers increases worker vulnerability.
A new set of free online tools designed to help food and beverage companies identify and mitigate human trafficking risk in their supply chains has recently been developed by Verité, a civil society organization that promotes labor rights globally. They were created with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The tools provide resources for companies that want to better identify, prevent, or address human trafficking or trafficking-related practices in their global supply chains, as well as implementation guidance for the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) “Ending Trafficking in Persons,” which requires U.S. federal contractors to take concrete steps to address and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains.
Low-skilled labor is commonly employed to carry out dirty, dangerous, and difficult jobs, particularly in mining, farming, and construction industries. It’s also common in repetitive motion work like factory assembly and meatpacking jobs, and for work that’s either stigmatized or devalued, such as janitorial work or personal care. There have been reporters that recruiters linked to organized crime have trafficked homeless people and forced them to do environmental cleanup in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.