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Government Guidance: International Law

ASIA

MODERN SLAVERY LAW

Hong Kong, China

A movement by the Slave Free Campaign has spurred anti-human trafficking action in the Hong Kong business world. In an effort to work in tandem with businesses, not against them, the Slave Free Campaign according to founder Julie Lim, “…aims to integrate human rights into business practices in order to eliminate labor trafficking in global supply chains.” The assumption by Lim is that most retail brands don’t understand what is happening in their factories operating in remote areas by middlemen. In auxiliary to the Slave Free Campaigns movement, Judge Zervos of the High Court of Hong Kong, recently made judgement highlighting the government’s failure to implement a comprehensive system of legislation and training covering slavery in all its forms. Both the Slave Free Campaign and High Court’s actions are ancillary to the increasing criticism from outside Hong Kong for a lack of action against human trafficking. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report downgraded Hong Kong from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watch List last year, and the United Nations CESCR Humans Rights Committee has persistently reported the high level of trafficking in Hong Kong, China. All of these efforts have justified a need for change in Hong Kong’s policy against human-trafficking.
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Headlines in 2018

Chocolatiers Prepare for Lawsuits

In February, a Consumer class action lawsuit was filed by consumer Danell Tomasell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Nestlé USA and in March, a second consumer class action lawsuit against Mars Inc. and Mars Chocolate North America LLC. The woman alleges the chocolatiers deceived consumers by failing to adequately inform consumers that child labor was involved in the cocoa beans used in the defendants’ products. According to the complaints, the defendant’s chocolate products are made from cocoa beans from West Africa. Both suits argue that had consumers known the products may contain cocoa procured from child or slave labor, they would not have purchased the products. The consumer class action lawsuits seeks judgment against the defendants, awarding plaintiff and the class all appropriate damages including trebling, attorneys’ fees, costs, interest, and further relief to be determined. Similar failed Consumer class action cases against Nestlé USA , Hershey and Mars Inc. were thrown out of court in 2016.
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Government Guidance 2018

Relevant International Conventions

International law has been a powerful medium for defining, preventing, protecting, prosecuting, and partnering against human trafficking world-wide. A set of eight international protocols and/or conventions are fundamental for countries to develop a national plan and display progress in anti-trafficking efforts. Meeting the minimum standard is demonstrated through legislation, prosecutions, and protection of victims as deemed necessary by the following relevant international conventions:
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Quarterly Headlines Winter 2018

2017 Stop Slavery Awards led by Adidas

The annual Stop Slavery Award was awarded to four winners at the 2017 Trust Conference. The award was led by Adidas with additional recognition as an “Outstanding Achiever” for excelling in every judging category. The international fashion retailer C&A was awarded for going beyond compliance standards in all categories. Through the “Bright Future” program, The Co-operative Group offers employment opportunities for victims of modern day slavery and was honored for having excelled in business partnership engagement and for having demonstrated excellence in supplier engagement and capacity building. The major U.S. technology company, Intel Corporation, was awarded for its outstanding work in demonstrating and implementing innovation across its programs against child sexual exploitation and refusing new business to suppliers who have failed to implement measures to combat slavery.

The Stop Slavery Award was launched by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The initiative recognizes companies that have taken concrete steps to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains. Short-listed nominee candidate companies included: Aldi UK, Barclays Bank Plc, CH2M, Fortescue Metals Group, Marks & Spencer, Marshall Plc, MGM China Holdings Ltd, Nestle’ S.A., Shiva Hotels, Waitrose, and Walmart Stores, Inc.
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Interview With The Fair Food Standards Council

Every successful supply chain program has a designated third-party assessor providing due diligence to both the supplier and the buyer. In the case of the Fair Food Program (FFP), the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) is charged with monitoring participating growers’ operations for compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct. Unlike other social responsibility programs however, FFSC operates in the unique structure created by the Coalition of Immokalee Worker Fair Food Program agreements, with their emphasis on worker participation and effective market consequences for non-compliance.

In a face-to-face interview, CHTCS discussed the cause and effect of FFSC’s role in the supply chain with the Executive Director Judge Laura Safer-Espinoza (retired), Director of Development Lindsay Adams and Associate Director Matthew Wooten.

Judge Laura Safer Espinoza is a retired New York State Supreme Court Justice who served in New York and Bronx Counties for twenty years. She was Deputy Supervising Judge for five years. Justice Safer Espinoza helped to design, and became the first presiding judge of, the Bronx Treatment Court, an innovative alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the FFSC.

Lindsay Adams is a Senior Investigator/Analyst and Director of Development at the Fair Food Standards Council. At FFSC, Ms. Adams has led field investigations of forced labor, systemic wage theft, violence and sexual assault, illegal recruitment and extortion within the H-2A federal guest-worker program, and pesticide poisoning.

Matthew Wooten is the Associate Director of the Fair Food Standards Council. He joined the FFSC with an extensive background in applied research and program operations in the United States and Latin America, with a focus on economic development and human rights. He was a Fulbright Scholar and holds an MA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Investing In Worker-driven Social Responsibility Models

Investing In Worker-driven Social Responsibility Models

After 8 months of U.S. President Trump holding office, the economy has grown only an average of 2%, while the stock market has increased an average nine percentage points year-to-date. Following robust campaign promises to deliver the “best” deals for America, uneasy challenges persist for the Trump Administration affecting the U.S. economy. An imperfect China trade deal concluded after the gift horse U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, updated changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remain unresolved, increased trade sanctions have been put in place against Iran, North Korea and Russia, and the socialist government of Venezuela continues to melt into further chaos.

But last April, preceding the release of President Trump’s Executive Order – Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, Ray Starling, the Special Assistant to the President of Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance disclosed the administrations agenda to grow the economy through agriculture. Accordingto Starling’s press briefing, the agricultural community is actively engaged as “a net contributor to lessening the trade deficit…growing more food than we can eat in the United States.” Bi-lateral negotiations involving agriculture are anticipated to improve the economy and job growth.

The following day, President Trump’s Executive Order replaced former-President Obama’s informal House Rural Council which did not specifically address economic growth with the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The Task Force will identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to promote rural America, agriculture, economic development, job growth, and other quality of life issues. Specifically, the Task Force will address changes that ensure access to reliable workforce and increase employment opportunities in agriculture-related and rural-focused business.

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The Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Model

Title- Worker Driven Social Responsibility

Sean Sellers is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) Network. Prior to joining WSR Network staff, Sean spent nearly fifteen years supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) efforts to improve labor conditions in U.S. agriculture. From 2003 to 2010, Sean worked in several capacities on the Campaign for Fair Food. In 2011, his work pivoted to the implementation of the Fair Food Program (FFP) across the Florida tomato industry and beyond. Sean was a founding staff member of the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the program’s third-party monitor, where he worked as a senior investigator until 2016. Sean has a BS and MA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Theresa Haas is the Director of Outreach and Education at the Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) Network. Prior to joining WSR Network staff, Theresa served as the Director of Communications for the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent labor rights monitoring organization, which works to protect and defend the rights of workers who make clothing and other consumer goods. While at the WRC, she helped to develop and launch the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally-binding agreement between workers and apparel brands to make factories safe. She is a graduate of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University.

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Adidas, Barclays, C&A, Intel and Many More Recognized by Thomson Reuters’ ‘Stop Slavery Award’

CHTCS-Logo-For-SiteThomson Reuters recently announced the winners and honorable mentions of its annual ‘Stop Slavery Award’, comprised of companies and groups that are actively fighting against all forms of modern slavery, and are the leading examples of Corporate Social Responsibility in regards to modern slavery and human trafficking specifically. The initiative recognizes companies that have taken concrete steps to eradicate forced and other forms of modern slavery from their supply chains.

The primary prize winner was Adidas, with additional recognition as an “Outstanding Achiever” for excelling in every judging category, however Thomson Reuters’ also went on to recognize the other winners and short-listed nominee companies including Barclays Bank, The Co-Operative Group, C&A, Intel, Walmart Stores, Inc. and many others for their efforts to combat modern slavery. We at CHTCS want to congratulate all the companies recognized for leading the corporate fight against human trafficking and modern slavery.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Guilty Plea Under Modern Day Slavery Act

CHTCS-Logo-For-SiteTwo Hungarian nationals who were subjected to months of forced labour and poor living conditions were the focus of a court hearing today.

The victims were both living in Hungary when they were made aware of an opportunity to earn a living in the UK. They were offered living accommodation and regular salary for manual work.

One of the victims arrived in the UK about six years ago and initially settled in Sheffield but he was told of work opportunity in Leicester so decided to move to the area.

Quickly life changed for him and he worked long hours and wasn’t paid. If he refused to go to work he was assaulted and wasn’t allowed out of the property.

At a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court today the defendant, Kazmer Kolompar, 43, of HMP Birmingham, pleaded guilty to holding a person in servitude and a further related offence under the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015. He is due to be sentenced on Friday, November 10.

In 2015 Kolompar contacted the second victim in Hungary and told him he could earn four times as much in the UK and could come and live with him.

Again, for the first few weeks life was fine for the victim but then it changed. He worked and wasn’t paid, he was given very little food and whenever he asked for his salary he was assaulted.

Detective Constable Jo Turnbull is from the force’s modern day slavery team. She said: “This was an extremely difficult case to investigate. The victims were both very traumatized by what they were subjected to. They never ever thought that they would be living in such conditions or made to work for little or no money.

“We are pleased Kolompar has admitted to the offences which has meant the victims didn’t have to relive his crimes in the court room.

“The Modern Day Slavery Act has only been in existence for the last two years and this is the first prosecution in our force area under this legislation.

“The individuals who commit such offences prey on people’s vulnerabilities and offer them a life they could only dream of. In reality this isn’t the case and many victims are left distraught.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice and would encourage anyone who has any suspicions about a friend or neighbour who may be a victim of such crime to contact us.”

Source: Loughborough Echo

What Are Maquiladoras and Why Are They So Common Along the US-Mexican Border?

In a raucous of rumors, promises, and realities, the Trump Administration is vacillating a clear solution for updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a potential border adjustment tax. As a result, business on the U.S. border will continue as usual with business supply chains using the Maquiladora industry through the Maquiladora program, IMMEX, to manufacture goods.

Based on the eternal search for low-wage labor sources, the Maquiladora industry was born in Nogales, Sonora 50 years ago under the National Border Development Program (PRONAF) by the Mexican government. Subsequently, a diverse development of first, second, and third-tier maquiladoras now perform manufacturing services from simple assembly to more complex production operations. Growing with global economy demands for on-time delivery, quality manufacturing, and low labor costs, the Maquiladora industry is a mix of foreign-owned and locally-owned businesses found mostly along the U.S./Mexico border.
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