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ASCM Insights

Collaborating to End Modern-Day Slavery


Last week, Cape Town hosted the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) World Congress 2019. Activists and lawyers from around the world shared information about the escalating modern slave trade and the millions of victims being exploited in global supply chains today.

Forced labor in the supply chain goes beyond dangerous or substandard working conditions, Melbourne-based attorney Frazer Hunt pointed out. “People are enslaved across the spectrum — from farming, domestic work and construction to clothing factories, mines and the beauty industry.”

Narit Gessler, director of development for nonprofit organization Free the Slaves, said the problem is far more common than people think. “The chances are good that you have had modern slavery in your supply chain,” she said. “It’s in the food we eat and the clothes we wear.”

Katie Modrau, the South African country manager of nongovernmental organization A21, noted that people who are unemployed and poverty-stricken are especially at risk. In her own country, 54% of people are susceptible to human trafficking schemes, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index.

Break the cycle

All victims of human trafficking and forced labor have one thing in common: vulnerability. These people are promised a better life for themselves and their families and often see no other option than to believe what they are being told. The first step to their liberation is increasing awareness.

The cover story of the brand-new edition of SCM Now magazine provides valuable information that you can use to spread this critical message, better understand the problems and begin finding solutions.

Author William “Rick” Crandall, Ph.D., writes: “If you are like many supply chain professionals, you wonder about the corporate social responsibility and ethical standards in the far tiers of your supply chain, particularly those in developing countries. You hope people are receiving adequate wages, have a safe environment in which to work and are given decent supervision. Yet, there is an uncomfortable reality that must be acknowledged: Slavery is alive and well in many areas of today’s supply chains.”

In the article, he shares five clear steps you can take to help address the issue. Crandall also will present a free webinar later this month where ASCM members can learn more about the realities of globalization and its impact on supply chains. Participants will discover insights into how slavery gets into a network, ways to ensure your organization sees what is happening beyond tier 1 and proven strategies for how you can help.

Read the article, then register for the SCM Live webinar today. Together, we can wipe out supply chain slavery.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at

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