Cali says no more slavery for real

By Freddie Pierce
January 1st of this year marked the beginning of Californias new supply chain transparency law, intended to stamp out human trafficking in the state. T...

January 1st of this year marked the beginning of California’s new supply chain transparency law, intended to stamp out human trafficking in the state.

The legislation mandates that very large companies provide detailed information about their supply chain and make good faith efforts to eradicate human rights abuses in their factories and warehouses.

In the competitive world of supply chain management, human trafficking has become a disturbing staple of large industry operation.  Californian companies looking to undercut their competitors have sometimes resorted to alliances with cutthroat overseas suppliers, whose practices sometimes include human trafficking – a post-globalization term for effective slavery.

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Victims often find themselves physically and sexually abused, exploited, and denied basic freedoms.  Activist efforts dating back decades have sought to eliminate the practice, and California’s recent legislation is a triumph for the cause.

In practice, however, many legitimate companies find themselves scrambling to provide the kind of transparency the law demands.  For some, problems will be discovered for the first time.  For others, compliance will be a matter of proving that the problems don’t exist.

Larger companies, whose supply chain the law primarily targets, have such complex and multi-sourced supply chains that the law is likely to educate the community about the details of their practices.  It should shine a welcome light on what is often an unexplored area of global business.

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