What Can Organizations Do to Combat Human Trafficking?

What Can Organizations Do to Combat Human Trafficking?

Laura Dryjanska
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3473-1.ch063
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This chapter discusses the current topic of human trafficking in the context of organization management and corporate social responsibility. First, human trafficking is defined, presenting the scope and various forms of modern slavery, with a special emphasis on labor trafficking. Second, the chapter sheds light on some ways in which organizations may combat human trafficking, within the framework of prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims, prevention of the offense, and transformative partnership. In particular, effective management of a supply chain constitutes a way for organizations to engage in fighting modern slavery, not only in line with the corporate social responsibility, but also in fulfillment of national legislation imposing mandatory requirements onto companies to disclose information about labor issues in their supply chains. Third, some examples from different types of organizations in diverse cultures are presented, emphasizing how such efforts fit with the missions and visions of these philanthrocapitalists.
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Human trafficking has become a relatively common term used by the media, policy makers, and scholars. In particular, criminologists and sociologists have been interested in this social issue for decades, but numerous other disciplines such as psychology (especially in the area of dealing with the complex trauma that victims undergo), economics, political science and others have been tackling the issue. However, it appears as a still relatively new topic for industrial-organizational psychologists.

The objectives of this chapter consist of discussing the most influential definitions of human trafficking and presenting the latest statistics that articulate diverse forms of this crime, in order to delineate specific ways in which the organization managers can actively participate in efforts to combat it.

This chapter discusses human trafficking in the context of organization management and corporate social responsibility. On the one hand, workplaces may directly or indirectly benefit from slave labor; on the other hand, there is a potential for some less obvious links with sex trafficking, especially when it comes to individual workers and some unspoken rules of organizational culture. This creates a number of possibilities for a workplace to actively engage in fighting human trafficking, especially in the areas of prevention and partnership. Annually updated Trafficking in Persons Report consistently pays more attention to the role of organizations. The latest edition draws the readers’ attention to using financial transactions to uncover human trafficking and features a number of tools developed by inter-governmental organizations.

Efforts to combat human trafficking should start with corporate leadership taking a stand. Sensitive leaders encourage employee training programs that empower workers to report suspicious activities to management and law enforcement. Once there is a level of basic knowledge in the company, some entities can be open to hosting corporate volunteer days or launching an initiative that personally engages employees in the fight against human trafficking, in cooperation with local anti-trafficking organizations in the community to cater to the greatest local needs. Simple acts such delivering meals, hosting a clothing drive, or creating amenity kits for survivors can make a difference, while at the same time integrating employees. In some cases, employee volunteers may be able to provide a skillset that helps further the work of a local anti-trafficking organization. Such efforts should be promoted and recognized by the leaders. Aside from educating employees, many organizations can further spread awareness on the issue of human trafficking by educating their customers. For example, the travel and tourism industry can distribute resources for customers to spot and report trafficking incidents on travel itineraries. Regardless of the type of organization, each and every one should be committed to slavery-free supply chains. A good start is to have a requirement for every supplier and vendor to sign a contract saying that they will not knowingly engage in labor and/or sex trafficking. Moreover, multiple organizations have financial resources that permit them to engage in anti-trafficking philanthropy. Companies can create employee campaign funds specifically dedicated to this cause; service organizations, corporate and family foundations also provide much-needed funding for anti-trafficking organizations.

While the above actions resonate with many corporate managers, this chapter intends to provide a systemic, theoretical lenses to present and assess the ways in which organizations can wisely engage in the global and local fight against human trafficking.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Corporate Social Responsibility: Taking into account the organization’s social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights; conducting business in an ethical way.

Transformative Anti-Trafficking Partnership: Partnership of various organizations aimed at helping human trafficking survivors reclaim dignity and actually reducing or abolishing the ongoing threat to potential victims. Such partnership is attentive to market forces, takes metrics seriously, has matching missions, and exhibits sound motives.

Philanthrocapitalists: New generation of philanthropists who (unlike earlier generations of philanthropists, who focused on funding third party initiatives) are creating and actively managing their own ventures, using their access to the global elite to assume a direct role in global governance; crucial agents in anti-trafficking efforts.

Supply Chain Management: All activities related to the management of the organization’s supply chain (including product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, as well as the information systems needed to coordinate them), aimed at maximizing customer value and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.

Human Trafficking: Modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act; also referred to as trafficking in persons (TIP) or modern slavery.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act: Introduced in 2000 by the Congress of the United States, the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons. The act provided a three-pronged approach that included prevention, protection, and prosecution, with the subsequent addition of partnership.

Palermo Protocol: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000.

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