Trafficking in human beings is a gross human rights violation and a profitable crime that can be found in the production and delivery of services and goods we consume.
Supply chains are the arteries in the complex global market today. Labour, goods and materials are sourced from all around the globe. It can be difficult for consumers and buyers to be sure that the services and goods they procure or purchase were not produced by trafficked labour.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently released a report indicating that there may be a hidden workforce of 116 million people in just 50 companies who are bringing in a combined revenue of 3.4 trillion USD. The report further says,
“The global supply chains of 50 companies employ only six percent of people in a direct employment relationship, yet rely on a hidden workforce of 94 percent”.
The potential for labour exploitation and human rights violations in the hidden workforce is also very high. Forced labour accounts for at least 150 billion USD of profits, according to the estimates of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Commercial sexual exploitation accounts for two thirds (99 billion USD), while forced economic exploitation, including agriculture, domestic work and other economic activities accounts for another 51 billion USD.
In a 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime printed in a publication entitled “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”. The report discloses that,
“Countries in Western and Southern Europe detected victims of 137 different citizenships”.
Affluent regions – such as North America, Southern and Western Europe and the Middle East – detect victims from a large number of countries around the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) concluded from these findings that,
“No country is immune to trafficking in persons.”