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Human Trafficking: What tools are available to measure and address businesses’ impact?

This week TTRP welcomes a contribution from Irene Pietropaoli. Irene is a co-founder and director of Measuring Business & Human Rights (MB&HR), a research project that aims to advance the capacity of businesses and corporate stakeholders to assess the extent to which companies meet their responsibility to respect human rights. She is a PhD candidate at the Law school of Middlesex University, London. In the past years she worked as a researcher at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and previously as a consultant at Maplecroft for the trafficking and the forced labour human rights indexes, and for the legal programme of ECPAT International. She is now based in Yangon, Myanmar.

Companies become implicated in human trafficking either in their supply-chain when suppliers and sub-contractors engage in trafficking or related forced labour, or directly in their operations, when, for example, they transport or harbour victims. This article describes initiatives and tools developed to measure the extent to which companies meet their responsibility in relation to human trafficking.  (more…)

Smarter Funding for Anti-Trafficking Work

This post is by Rebecca Napier-Moore and Mike Dottridge, who have just edited the September 2014 issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. The issue is themed Following the Money: Spending on anti-trafficking. Six authors contributed research to the volume and five others wrote opinion pieces on how to best spend 10 million dollars in anti-trafficking work. Rebecca and Mike also trawled through mountains of data on anti-trafficking funding to compile a Global Funding Information Sheet and wrote an article (Do We Know Where the Money for Anti-Trafficking is Going?) for discussion at a workshop last year. No research had been done previously on money trails in anti-trafficking work.

Rebecca Napier-Moore is Editor of the Anti-Trafficking Review. She is also a consultant, working most recently for the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development and UNWomen and has published on women’s empowerment, migrants’ rights, and accountability in anti-trafficking.

Mike Dottridge was guest editor of the September 2014 issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review and is a consultant on human rights issues, based in the United Kingdom. He has previously worked for Amnesty International and for Anti-Slavery International, where he was Director. He is a trustee for the United Nations Voluntary Fund on contemporary forms of slavery, a fund that gives grants worth about USD 0.5 million a year, with about half going to assist people who have been trafficked.

Lots of people talk about money in anti-trafficking work. The ILO has tried to estimate the profits related to forced labour, with a figure of USD 150 billion a year gaining traction. Others have tried to estimate the ‘cost of a slave,’ though we are not sure what this kind of estimate is supposed to achieve apart from fundraising and PR. Governments and businesses are starting to try to ensure ‘trafficking free’ investments and supply chains.

Very rarely does anyone talk about the money that governments and philanthropists give to end trafficking. Doing so involves critiquing a sector that most people see as doing unqualifiedly good work. Critiquing the way money is spent or how much of it is spent involves ‘biting the hand that feeds’ and funds the work. No development/aid sector is perfect, however, and frank conversations about financial transparency are vital to accountability – accountability not only to funders, but also to the people who are supposed to benefit from anti-trafficking funding. (more…)

Singapore’s National Plan of (In)Action: two years on.

March 21st marks the two-year anniversary of the Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce’s launch of an Action Plan to combat human trafficking. Mirroring 2012, 2013 produced little substance in the way of anti-trafficking initiatives. As Singapore’s landscape shifts, it becomes clear that the anti-trafficking Taskforce is operating in a silo, failing to engage with broader underlying labor concerns affecting exploited individuals. TTRP has previously commented on the lack of action by the Taskforce in both our response to the US TIP Report and our six-month review of the NPA. Continued silence by Government on human trafficking enables an easy review of 2013: a lack of transparency and substantial collaboration with NGOs has resulted in a failure to account for progress achieved across all stated objectives of the plan. (more…)

Ethical principles in the re/integration of trafficked persons. Experiences from the Balkans.

This week we welcome back Rebecca Surtees. Rebecca is Senior Researcher at NEXUS Institute, an international human rights research and policy center in Washington, DC. NEXUS Institute is dedicated to combating human trafficking as well as other human rights abuses. This post is written in conjunction with a newly released report on developing common ethical principles within anti-trafficking re/integration.

In the Balkan region, human trafficking continues to be a pressing issue. One central aspect of anti-trafficking work is re/integration; the process of recovery and economic and social inclusion following a trafficking experience. Re/integration services are often key to trafficked persons’ ability to recover and move on with their lives. And yet few organisations and programmes have developed ethical principles according to which their re/integration work is implemented, monitored and evaluated.  (more…)

The Transparency in UK Company Supply Chains Bill: three lessons

Our guest post for this week has been written by Nicola Phillips; Professor of Political Economy at the University of Sheffield, UK. Professor Phillips currently holds a Major Research Fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust, which was awarded in 2010 for three years, for work on forced labour and human trafficking in the global and UK economies. She writes and speaks extensively on these issues, and is working on a book on the global political economy of forced labour and human trafficking which (she hopes!) will be completed by the end of this year.  

The issues of human trafficking and slavery in global supply chains have been somewhat in vogue of late, particularly in the United States. The state of California brought into force its innovative Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) Act in 2012, obliging large firms doing business in or with California to report on the steps that they are taking to address trafficking in their supply chains. The focus on supply chains was central to US President Barack Obama’s major statement on trafficking in September 2012, and labour rights made a strong showing in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed in 2011. (more…)