Products of Slavery

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  • Slavery has been linked to the supply chains of many everyday products and commodities, including shoes, electronics, cocoa, and cotton.
  • Nestle, Mars and Hershey all source cocoa from West Africa, where cases of child labour and forced labour have been discovered, and still persist.
  • Modern slavery is connected to crisps, ice cream and lipstick through palm oil. The palm oil industry employs 3.5 million people. Many are promised high-paying work in another country, only to suffer conditions of forced labour upon arrival.
  • Cotton is in 40% of all textiles, and is known to have people enslaved at every stage of the industry, from germination, harvesting, spinning, to manufacturing the clothes.
  • It would cost consumers as little as 1.8% more per item to double the pay of a sweat shop worker. A study showed that consumers would be willing to pay up to 15% more for slavery-free clothing.
  • As many as one in three foreign workers in Malaysia’s electronics sector may be working under conditions of forced labour.
  • Coltan and other “conflict minerals” present in electronics devices often come from forced labour in illegal mining whose profits support armed forces.
  • Forced labour is big business, with profits estimated at $150 billion, or around £125 billion.
  • Some countries have been making efforts to force companies to take steps to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free, including Brazil’ has a “Dirty List,” the UK’s Modern Slavery Act and the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.

Dive Deeper

Explore further

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and articles on the subject.

Addressing Conflict Mineral Abuses (EU)

27 Jan 2017

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Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act (USA)

27 Jan 2017

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