Supply Chain
Public-Private Partnerships Can Help Stop Modern Slavery

Organizations making up the so-called “Freedom Ecosystem”, including businesses, government, civil society, the funding community and the broader public, can form critical partnerships to help end modern day slavery, according to a new report by Deloitte and nonprofit Free the Slaves.

The Freedom Ecosystem – How the Power of Partnership Can Help Stop Modern Day Slavery is the product of a years-long collaborative effort between Deloitte and Free the Slaves, which describes how the Freedom Ecosystem can use collective action to remove conditions that allow slavery to exist.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 14.2 million people are victims of forced labor in private economic activities such as agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing.

In 2011, Deloitte began work on an analytics project that demonstrated how the power of data to help eradicate human trafficking and slavery. The project results inspired the firm to get more involved and work with organizations such as Free the Slaves in order to figure out what is really driving slavery and ways to eradicate those drivers.

Through a series of interviews with experts from across the Freedom Ecosystem, extensive secondary research and analysis of successful collective-action examples, the report authors have identified three elements that allies should apply in collaborating for increased progress:

  • Align on common goals

  • Build mutual ownership

  • Create scalable solutions

Incorporating these elements of collective action can allow allies from across sectors to establish an infrastructure to help reinforce future change as well as address some current challenges such as a standard definition for human trafficking, gaps in and sharing of data, limited resources and policy. They will include:

  • Create a professional association for joint learning

  • Mobilize resources through strategic alliances

  • Unite around a common policy agenda

Throughout the report, examples of recent actions to help end slavery are highlighted and demonstrate how organizations can work together to bring about greater impact in working to eradicate slavery.

Last week, a public-private partnership launched a new competition to combat modern-day slavery. Partnership for Freedom will award $500,000 in prizes to technological solutions that are selected as finalists for Rethink Supply Chains: The Tech Challenge to Fight Labor Trafficking.

In July, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of 300 investors with assets under management of over $100 billion, along with Calvert Investments and Christian Brothers Investment Services, applauded the introduction of The Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill calls on governments to “set clear expectations for businesses on human rights issues and adopt policies that promote greater transparency and better reporting on anti-trafficking efforts in supply chains.”


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