Maloney targets slavery, human trafficking, and child labor with bipartisan supply chain transparency bill
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) this week introduced the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2014 (H.R. 4842). The bill requires companies with over $100 million in global gross receipts to publicly disclose any measures to prevent human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains as part of their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“Human trafficking, child labor, and slavery are, unfortunately, not relics of the past but very much present in the 21st century,” said Maloney. “It is estimated that nearly 12.3 million people are working in some form of forced labor worldwide, and the U.S. should use every tool available to help the men, women and children who are trapped in slavery. Every day, Americans purchase products tainted by forced labor and this bill is a first step to end these inhumane practices. By requiring companies with more than $100 million in worldwide receipts to be transparent about their supply chain policies, American consumers can learn what is being done to stop horrific and illegal labor practices. This bill doesn’t tell companies what to do, it simply asks them to tell us what steps they are already taking. This transparency will empower consumers with more information that could impact their purchasing decisions.”
Disclosures would be made through annual U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings as set forth in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Maloney’s bill also requires the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of State and other appropriate Federal and international agencies, independent labor evaluators, and human rights groups, to develop an annual list of the top 100 companies complying with supply chain labor standards.
Maloney reintroduced the new version of her bill the day before the World Day Against Child Labor and shortly after a bombshell investigative report from The Guardian newspaper revealed that shrimp for sale in American grocery stores had been produced using slave labor and other abusive practices. Some large retailers responded by removing the illegally-produced shrimp from their shelves, but pro-active action is needed to prevent similar problems in the future.
“Today tens of millions of people are working in conditions of modern slavery, many of whom are currently making products for American consumers,” said Melysa Sperber, Director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST). “Congresswoman Maloney's supply chain transparency bill moves the needle forward. Ensuring companies report what they are doing to prevent trafficked and forced labor will allow U.S. consumers to make informed decisions about what products they buy,”
Maloney first introduced the bill in 2011 as The Business Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act (H.R. 2759).