We embrace the colorful fabrics we wear, the shoes we tie, and the products we buy. However, many of these materials are unethically sourced. There are more than 46 million people living in modern slavery around the world. All forms of modern slavery exist globally, including domestic servitude, bonded labor, and forced labor–which extend to all industries.
Modern slavery extends beyond the fabrics that comfort us. Each day many of us, myself included, have the opportunity to work alongside a global team that has operations in around the world. Working for Gensuite, a global team with offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Shanghai, Australia, Paris, and more, has brought this topic to light. At Gensuite, we collectively believe in the importance of working for a company that not only supports an ethical, global workforce but also helps other companies do the same.
How can we bridge the gap between material and worker with a robust sourcing and ethical strategy to help lessen this issue and bring awareness to it? Let us begin by addressing the areas below.
Talk to Your Team–If you’re part of a global team, talk to them about this issue. They will have the most influential voice in bringing light to slavery, along with firsthand experience and stories to share. A Gensuite Bangalore team member came to visit the Cincinnati office and the United States for the first time. He shared ways on how we can help more directly with this issue. We could support an anti-trafficking organization, hold a fundraiser, provide jobs and other opportunities to trafficking survivors.
Host a Webinar–You could host or co-host a webinar on anti-trafficking. This is a great way to engage more directly with your audience on a passionate topic. Influential voices, such as Brooke Hathaway, Executive Director of End Slavery Now, can help you and your global team co-host a variety of webinars surrounding human trafficking topics.
Share This Blog–Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing a social media post or blog on antislavery to get the word out. It’s necessary to converge–to uniformly raise a voice against this crime. The more society is aware, the more quickly we can eradicate slavery around the world. When society joins together and becomes empowered, slave owners and traffickers will shrink away.
Establish Programs & Tap into Resources
Responsible Sourcing Programs–Oftentimes, the demands put upon factories often outweigh expected compliance requirements. This causes an influx of issues, such as long working hours, poor wages, and forced labor. As companies, we can instill responsible sourcing programs into our business to lower this influx of issues by supporting only responsible practices and products. Gensuite offers responsible sourcing software applications to ensure your company and team will always maintain an ethical external workforce–all throughout the supply chain.
Social & Ethical Programs–Look beyond an audit and engage with factory managers and workers to establish a social and ethical program for continuous improvement at the core level. When taking this approach, it’s important to highlight the benefits of the program to everyone in the team at all levels. Work closely with team members to demonstrate that a robust infrastructure will lead to a more efficient and effective business while boosting team moral. Continue to address the importance of responsible sourcing and why these programs exist. An organized factory, with a strong HR department, and a high level of health and safety will drive toward antislavery awareness. Just imagine how workplace health and safety in factories improve many lives!
Resources– Access resources, such as success stories of companies that have implemented responsible sourcing and ethics programs into their workforce to raise awareness about antislavery in India or other regions. Think about other resources too, such as the resources in your own workspace. Begin supporting niche markets and alternative solutions to end the problem of slavery by purchasing raw materials from ethical and labor-free environments.
The next time you go to make a purchase, think about the hands that molded it, and the conditions that they may be working under. And lend your voice to encourage your company to embed a responsible sourcing strategy into your business plan for the sake of antislavery and the fabric of a more colorful life.