Slavery is a default condition in human society. Only as culture and Christianity advanced were we able to finally make headway against it, but it’s far from gone.
Americans have a particularly narrow understanding of the issue because of our history with African slavery and the Civil War that ended it. We tend to think all forms of slavery are like ours: brutal and violent, socially-sanctioned, and racially based. Modern slavery is more insidious, blurring the line between wage-slavery and actual human chattel.
Made in a Free World is a nonprofit dedicated to stamping out modern slavery, and one of the ways they’re doing this is to make it unprofitable.
Their tool is called FRDM: Force Labor Risk Determination and Mitigation. Modern supply chains are very complex, and tend to isolate consumers, retailers, and even manufacturers from the shady origin points of some raw materials. This service allows companies to search for over 54,000 goods, services, and commodities and then check purchase data against their Global Slavery Database. The idea is to find out where goods are clean or dirty.
It might be a migrant issue here, or a dry season or monsoon there, which creates a glut of labor being preyed upon,” said Justin Dillon, founder of Made in a Free World, based in San Francisco. The tool helps companies find “those hot spots for forced labor popping up.”
Based on an analysis of suppliers in Ariba’s system, and where those suppliers tend to source their components or raw materials, a construction company might discover it is using iron from China, where the industry is poorly regulated and there is a high probability of forced labor. A search for women’s shirts in Malaysia may reveal cotton from Mali, another potentially problematic region in terms of labor practices.
I believe this is a subscription service, but I’ve sent for more information. They also allow you the check your slavery footprint, which is free.