Anti-Slavery and Due Diligence Legislation

In addition to a country’s own anti-slavery laws and commitments for the ILO conventions, several governments have recently passed legislation increasing the information companies must disclose regarding their due diligence to address human trafficking, slavery, and worst forms of child labor. In addition to federal governments, the state of California has a disclosure law regarding trafficking and slavery.  

Executive Order: Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking Persons in Federal Contracts

In September 2012, President Obama released this Executive Order (EO) detailing renewed efforts by the federal government to combat trafficking affiliated with products or services purchased by the US Government. In conjunction with this EO, the Obama Administration announced the Partnership for Freedom to promote the development of new and innovative solutions to human trafficking.

Federal Legislation on Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery (Introduced bill, not yet a law)

During the 2011-2012 session, Congress introduced a bill (H.R. 2759) that would require companies with greater than $100 million in revenue to publicly report company efforts to combat slavery and would unify state laws on trafficking linked to businesses. While this bill did not pass, it will likely be reintroduced in the future. A fact sheet can be found on the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) website.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) (P.L. 113-4)

TVPRA supports efforts both nationally and internationally to combat forced labor by strengthening laws regarding prosecution of trafficking perpetrators, providing services to survivors, and developing new anti-slavery programs. Initially passed into law in 2000, it was reauthorized in 2013.

California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (SB 657)

SB 657 went into effect on January 1st, 2012. It requires companies doing business in California and doing more than $100 million in business annually to disclose information on their websites about efforts companies are taking to prevent forced labor in their supply chains. A company has to report on if it is doing the following:

  • Engage in verification of product supply chains to evaluate and address any risks of trafficking and slavery;

  • Conduct audits of suppliers for compliance with company standards regarding trafficking and slavery;

  • Require Direct Suppliers to certify that material incorporated into their products complies with laws regarding slavery and human trafficking where suppliers do business;

  • Maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for suppliers failing to meet the company’s standards;

  • Provide training on human trafficking and slavery, particularly with respect to mitigating risk within the supply chain of products.

UK Modern Slavery Act 2015

Like California’s SB657, the UK Modern Slavery Act requires a company doing business in the UK to disclose information on how it is (or is not) ensuring slavery or human trafficking is not taking place in its supply chain or business. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) hosts a Modern Slavery Registry where companies can post their statements. The UK Government issued a Practical Guide to assist companies in determining and reporting on their efforts. It recommends the following areas are covered in a company’s statement:

  • The organisation’s structure, its business and its supply chains;

  • Its policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking;

  • Its due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains;

  • The parts of its business and supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place, and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk;

  • Its effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate;

  • The training and capacity building about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.

French Vigilance Law

The French Assembly passed a law, called the French Duty of Vigilance Law, requiring French companies with 10,000 employees worldwide to establish a due diligence process for identifying risks of human rights, health and security, or environmental violations within their global supply chains.

Netherlands Due Diligence Law regarding child labor

The Dutch Parliament passed the Child Labour Due Diligence Law (Senate approval pending as of August 2017), requiring companies to examine whether child labor occurs in their production chains, and to draw up action plans to address it if it does exist.

Australia Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement

The Australian Parliament has created an inquiry into creating a reporting requirement, which would require large corporations doing business in Australia to report on the presence of modern slavery in their supply chains and their efforts to mitigate the problem.The government released a consultation paper outlining a proposed approach forward in 2017.