Human Trafficking

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is trading in humans – by threat, force or other forms of coercion – for the purposes of exploiting them. Additionally, recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a child under the age of 18 for the purposes of exploitation is always considered human trafficking, regardless of whether it involves threats, force or coercion.

Such exploitation may take the form of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, or the extraction of organs or tissues. The Human Trafficking Handbook asserts that human trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world. According to experts, human traffickers range from opportunistic individuals and criminal organisations to employment recruiting companies.

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is an umbrella term for the exploitation of people who cannot refuse or escape the exploitation because someone is threatening, coercing, abusing or deceiving them. The term covers slavery, forced and bonded labour, human trafficking and certain forms of child labour.

Experts estimate that more than 45 million people are entrapped in modern slavery worldwide. This crime can occur anywhere exploitative people try to make money off the backs of vulnerable individuals.

Types of modern slavery include:

  • forced labour
  • criminal exploitation, such as benefit fraud, pickpocketing, drug trafficking and sexual exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • forced begging
  • forced marriage
  • organ harvest

What are the definitions of forced labour, bonded labour and child labour?

Forced labour

Forced labour is any and all work or services for which a person has not volunteered or offered and that the person performs under threat of penalty. Labour-intensive industries requiring temporary and irregular work, in addition to jobs requiring few skills and low wages, are often high-risk sectors for forced labour.

Bonded labour

Also known as debt bondage, bonded labour is the pledge of a person’s services as collateral for repaying a debt or other obligation, in which the person holding the debt has not clearly or reasonably stated the terms of repayment – that is, the debt holder tricks and traps the labourer into working for little to no pay. The debt holder thereby exercises some degree of control over the labourer and likely has little or no intention of allowing full repayment of the debt.

Child labour

According the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling by

  • depriving them of the opportunity to attend school
  • obliging them to leave school prematurely
  • requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work

The ILO defines the minimum age at which children can work as 15 years old. (For light work that does not hinder school attendance, children can work from the age of 13 or 14.)

Human trafficking, modern slavery and supply chain transparency

Eliminating modern slavery across industries is the responsibility of all businesses – and operational and supply chain transparency are good places to start. Without this visibility into all vendors and suppliers, companies may unwittingly and unintentionally be supporting forced labour when procuring materials or services.

But because of the complex and fragmented nature of some supply chains as well as the hidden nature of modern slavery, identifying and addressing these issues are complicated. Businesses must be proactive about exercising due diligence and mitigating the risks of modern slavery in their own operations and supply chain. There are steps companies can take, such as:

  • having a comprehensive understanding of all the links in their supply chains
  • undergoing risk assessments to help them make decisions and prioritise actions
  • publishing their full supplier lists
  • training employees to understand the risks of human trafficking and forced labour

Taking such steps is not only an opportunity for organisations but also a necessity.

Fortunately, recent national and international regulations, such as Section 54 of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015, as well as new and evolving technologies to track supply chains, are also changing the landscape and helping organisations.

Lexis Diligence®

Lexis Diligence is an easy-to-use solution for empowering your supply chain transparency efforts through efficient, flexible and cost-effective due diligence. This due-diligence tool gathers all the international and business intelligence you need in one place to safeguard your business, minimise reputational risk and adhere to regulatory requirements.

Lexis Diligence® lets you:

  • conduct analysis and checks on third parties to support obligations for human rights transparency and ethical sourcing practices
  • generate due-diligence reports that provide you with a clear, verifiable, auditable research trail so you can easily demonstrate your compliance efforts
  • track more than 1000 government sanctions lists, watchlists and politically exposed person (PEP) lists
  • monitor negative news

The tool draws information from 26,000 sources – from global, national and regional newspapers to blog posts. And, with an archive that dates back more than 40 years, you won’t miss out on vital information that’s otherwise unavailable to you on the open web.

LexisNexis Entity Insight

In light of modern slavery, human trafficking and other widespread corruption across the world, today’s international marketplace is seeing a global trend towards organisations’:

  • carefully monitoring their supply chains
  • increasing their transparency
  • overall strengthening their accountability

LexisNexis Entity Insight is our fast, efficient and cost-effective solution for proactively monitoring your supply chain and third-party business partners – as well as their ties to modern slavery and human rights.

Transparency and visibility into your supply chain are essential for mitigating your organisation’s risk. LexisNexis Entity Insight helps you

  • more effectively anticipate and manage reputational and social risk
  • gain better visibility and market intelligence on your supply chain and third-party portfolio

Unlike negative news monitoring that uses a traditional search engine and alerts, LexisNexis Entity Insight draws on a wide range of market intelligence and premium news sources that are generally unavailable on the open web. This capability enables companies to capture a more comprehensive view of reputational, regulatory, financial, strategic and social risks.