- 1. 马耳他主权教团监测和打击人口贩运大使米歇尔-沃特希教授的开幕词
- 2. Sr. Mirjam Beike, RGS, 主持人
- 3. 奴隶自由贸易组织创始人布莱恩-伊瑟林关于需求作用的介绍
- 4. 约翰-安东尼-麦卡锡，悉尼天主教大主教区反奴隶制工作组执行小组主席，2012–2016年澳大利亚驻罗马教廷大使，新南威尔士州律师协会女王律师，悉尼的律师。
- 5. GSIF好牧人国际基金会主任克里斯蒂娜-杜兰蒂（Cristina Duranti）因其打击剥削儿童的工作而获得汤森路透基金会停止奴役奖，她被迫在刚果民主共和国的矿场工作。
TEXT OF THE APRIL 20 WEBINAR:
DEMAND AS ROOT CAUSE FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING – FORCED LABOR, EMPOWERING CONSUMERS
MICHEL VEUTHEY: Welcome to the second of three webinars on demand as root cause for human trafficking. Today, we shall discuss forced labour, the importance of supply chain control by producers, and the role of consumers. On behalf of the Order of Malta, I would like to thank Sister Mirjam Beike, for her active participation in the organisation of this webinar, as well as Brian Iselin, a pioneer and specialist in the control of supply chains. As we have seen in our previous webinars, human trafficking is a heavy, complex phenomenon, that requires broad cooperation between Governments and civil society, including religious organisations and communities. We all need to address the root cause, which is a culture of striving for maximum profit on the part of producers and consumers, without any consideration for the dignity of the human being, for decent work, for the environment. In today’s throwaway culture, women, men, children are seen as a commodity that can be freely exploited, disposed of; an object for sale. Today, we are very fortunate to welcome four distinguished speakers. First, Sister Mirjam Beike, Geneva representative at the UN in Geneva of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. She worked 30 years with survivors of trafficking in Germany and Albania. She’s a working board member of RENATE: Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation, and of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The second speaker is Mrs. Cristina Duranti, director of GSIF: Good Shepherd International Foundation, which won this year in February, the Thomson Reuters Foundation Stop Slavery Award, for their work fighting the exploitation of children forced to work in mines, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Documents and movies about this very interesting project in Congo can be found and downloaded in the handouts. If you look at your screen, it’s next to the chat, at the top right of your screen. The third speaker is Brian Iselin, former Australian soldier and federal agent. He’s the founder of the NGO slavefreetrade, working on eliminating modern slavery in the work place. The fourth speaker, also an Australian, John McCarthy, Chair of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Anti-Slavery Taskforce Executive Team. He was the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, from 2012 to 2016, is Queens Counsel at the New South Wales Bar, and a barrister in Sydney. He is a forceful speaker, and active fighter against human trafficking in Australia, as well as in Rome, New York and Geneva. Thanks to his diplomacy, and to his leadership, a unique project has been developed in the Catholic Church. And now, again a special thanks to Sister Mirjam, who is taking over as moderator. Mirjam, you have the floor.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you, Michel. So welcome to our speaker. Thank you that you are here. We start directly with the program, and I want to give the floor to Dr. Cristina Duranti. The Good Shepherd International Foundation has started the project, a pilot project in Kolwezi, to help mainly children to escape the work in the mines. And this is like the beginning of supply chains. And we can hear a lot of interesting and fundamental things from Cristina who will report about this. So Cristina, you have the floor.
CRISTINA DURANTI: Thank you. Thank you very much, Professor. And thank you, Mirjam, for the invitation. This is a pleasure to be with you to speak about the supply chain of a very, very critical element for our digital lives and also for our green future, batteries. What’s going on in the supply chain of batteries? It’s what we are going to give a little bit of a look today, of course, it’s a very complex matter. But what we can, we will focus on, is what happens actually at the upstream, which means at the beginning of the process of the supply chain, and in particular, we’re going to look at a very specific element, a component of the batteries that power our mobile devices, that power our electric cars: cobalt. Cobalt is a precious mineral that is found not in many places, and has become really a critical material since the… Let’s call it “battery economy” came into place. And we can predict that it will continue to raise attention as we move into a greener future, where electric vehicles will have to play a much more important role. So just to give you a little bit of context, who are we? I am the director, as you said, of the Good Shepherd International Foundation. And we are an organisation based in Rome, Italy, founded by the congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sisters, as they are known, are present in 70 countries around the world, and they focus their mission on girls, women and children, particularly those who live in extremely difficult conditions due to poverty, exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. In Good Shepherd International Foundation, we focus on supporting those programs, those missions in the South of the world. So in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Middle East. And we operate as a nongovernmental agency and we focus mostly on supporting with the technical assistance, the programs of the sisters in these countries with capacity building, and we partner internationally with like minded NGOs. So I was mentioning at the beginning that what we’re going to talk about, the supply chain of batteries, it’s really intertwined with the concept of sustainability. We cannot think today of a sustainable low carbon future without thinking of batteries. And if we think of batteries, due to the current technology, we have to think of cobalt, and many other metals, that have their own issues regarding the way they are extracted and then processed. The human and environmental costs of the extraction and processing of a metal like cobalt today, is still unsustainable for the communities, particularly who live at the upstream, at the top end of the supply chain. Just to give you a very tangible example, the market price of cobalt has fluctuated a lot. It at some point reached a peak, where in two years it tripled its price. But if you go and visit those communities at the upstream, particularly in the DRC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the global source of cobalt, the main source of cobalt, and more specifically the region of Lualaba, a piece of the former Katanga, which you might be familiar with, you will see that the condition of the communities that live in this area have really not improved, thanks to this price increase. Actually, in many ways, they have declined. So we’re talking about Kolwezi, and you might wonder why an organisation that works with Catholic sisters is concerned with the supply chain of batteries and the extraction of cobalt. And to make a long story short, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd moved into Kolwezi, which is the capital of Lualaba, the world capital of cobalt today, in 2012, with very different purpose. The focus of the Good Shepherd Sisters was to establish a program to support girls and women, especially those victims of abuse, and domestic violence, and living in prostitution, and extreme poverty. But what we found when we established this program was that the violations of human rights that were affecting, especially the most vulnerable and particularly children, were connected very closely to the main activity, the main economic activity, I would say the only economic activity around which the whole economy, the whole society of this community revolves around. And what we found was really quite astounding. We found very serious violations of children’s rights, with regards to child labor, and more specifically, worst forms of child labor, according to the definition of the ILO that I’m sure you’re all familiar with. So a type of work, that affects profoundly, the development of children, their health and their well-being. And so we found that 70% of the children that we interviewed in the community of Kolwezi, where we started our work, were in a way or another involved in such kind of work. They were not able to attend school, and so the illiteracy rates were very, very high. And most of these children, around 50%, were orphans or vulnerable. So really high level of risk for this specific group. And we saw that, opening up a little bit the analysis, the condition of women and girls was not, was not good as well, with a very high percentage of women reporting abuse, and reporting to be illiterate, and not having the capacity to access the job market. Overall, we found a population living with less than $1 per day, on a rate of 90%, lack of drinking water for over 50%, and high level of hunger, of extreme poverty and hunger. And this is mostly due to the fact that the household income, from what is called artisanal mining, which means trying to earn a living by go digging in the mining concessions in a more or less legal fashion, it’s very intermittent and unpredictable and unable to support regularly the household. So this was the picture of the community that we found, when the Sisters moved into Kolwezi. And please, put it now in contrast with what I mentioned to you at the beginning, of the the green economy, the battery economy, which fuels the society and the industrial development of our country. So these are the scenes that you can still find today in and around the Kolwezi area, where you can see children trying to crawl into holes to dig for minerals in conditions that you can’t imagine, put their health, their development at the highest risk. So since 2012, the Good Shepherd International Foundation and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd started this program called Bon Pasteur Kolwezi. And we identified a model of intervention that could really tackle all the different dimensions, the so-called root causes of the problems that we have identified earlier. So we developed what we call a holistic model, multidimensional model, articulated in a theory change, in a strategic plan that is now in its second cycle of implementation. In 2017, we invited Professor Mark Canavera from Columbia University to come and visit our program. And Professor Canavera is an expert on children’s rights and child protection, he’s the head of the CPC, Child Protection Center at Columbia, to evaluate and assess our model of intervention. And he gave us very interesting insights so that we’ll share later on why this model, this multidimensional model is proving to be effective. And you see here the key elements of this multidimensional approach. We focus on, first of all, creating safe spaces for girls, women and children, to allow them to express their needs and identify the challenges and what puts them at risk, and provide a system that can protect their rights. You have to think that most of the problems that these children are affected by are connected to the fact that the protection system is failing, and there are major gaps in providing services that can ensure that these children are safe and enrolled in a development process that is adequate for their age. Then we work on women, to empower them through literacy training programs and social business activities. Supporting them in the startup of cooperatives, to help them raise an income that will prevent them to go into dangerous work in the mine, but at the same time, allow their children also to attend schools. With the children, we have started a program of recruitment into what we call Centre de Rattrapage, which is an informal school system that is providing an access to the communities, offering these children an opportunity to be mainstreamed in the education system, and at the same time offer a range of social services, social and health care services to the children and their families, including daily meals, which we know in this context are extremely important. We work with the communities at large, what we call community strengthening because we need to discuss with the communities around their rights. These are communities that are really left out of the how can I say it, citizenship sphere. Many in these communities are not even registered citizens, so they have no rights to vote. They’re not aware of their rights as citizens, as laborers, and as parents or children or women. And so we do a lot of this work also to help them come together and be mobilized to advocate for their rights. Here, you see where we work, we are now in eight locations, in eight villages in and around the town of Kolwezi, and these are the five dimensions that I mentioned to you earlier where we are focusing on, sorry, I forgot the fifth one, which is to focus on building the capacity of the local teams that we work with. And just for you to know, we have no expert staff. Bon Pasteur Kolwezi is run by the sisters and lay partners, there is six sisters and a hundred partners, all Congolese, and just two Kenyan sisters. So our experts are from Africa as well. The approach works on three levels: prevention, protection, and remediation. So we try to really develop a virtuous cycle that can allow the communities to become a safer place for their most vulnerable members, and then protect them in order to be able to thrive and to be empowered then, to access their rights. But at the same time, we engage and we are calling companies, mining companies that have a serious commitment towards human rights to partner with us in the remediation process, especially if they have specific stakes in the areas, in the communities where we operate. And one of the key initiatives we’re focusing on is to promote sustainable alternative livelihoods. So as I said, mining is, for many of these people, the only source of income, and it’s overall the only profitable economic sector in this area. So we are trying to break this curse, which is considered in these areas, and invest and call companies to invest in alternative sectors such as agriculture, bringing back agriculture and farming in communities where… I usually give this example, because it’s really striking for us: it’s easier to buy a ton of cobalt than a dozen of eggs, because production and distribution of any kind of staples, food, it’s much more difficult in these areas, than extraction and distribution of minerals and metals. But we are still human beings, and human beings cannot live on minerals. Actually, we need still food to live. And so you would be surprised how difficult it is to buy a sack of beans for our school, for example. We often have to import from very far away. And this gives you an idea also of the focus of the investment, the local economic players and the lack of capacity of the local Governments and public actors to use the proceeds, and, you know, the revenues from this activity, the revenues from taxes to invest in sectors like agriculture that would bring back to the local economy, and that would meet primary basic needs of the community. So you see, this is one of the aspects of the lack of regulation that is affecting heavily the well-being of the population. This is to give you an idea of the results that we have achieved so far. So started from scratch in 2012, as of 2019, and we have some more updated numbers, we have contributed to help over 3,400 children quit work in the mines. And this has been possible thanks to the what I mentioned earlier, the safe spaces and informal education programs, but also thanks to the work done with the community and with the mothers who have been allowed to raise income in alternative ways and have been made aware of the risks connected to working in the mines. Here you see some of the, of what we consider success factors of this program according to the evaluation done by Professor Canavera that I mentioned earlier. The fact that the program really put the poorest first, so we started the first cycle of planning, focusing on really the most marginalized within the Kolwezi community, which were, we have to say this very openly, neglected even by local charities and local NGOs. They were sort of invisible, because these communities are very often made of people coming from other parts, internally displaced people or just people who are coming into the mining area to look for better life, a sort of gold rush approach. And therefore, these communities tend to be particularly harsh to live in, very tense and violent. And so the idea of focusing on this specific sector of the population was considered quite radical. And so it was one of the factors that was put up as an element of legitimacy, a credibility of the program was to put, really, the poorest first. The idea of bringing together human development, human rights and economic development to look towards a sustainable future that was not necessarily depending on this commodity, on the mining work. The great work done by the Sisters, and I have to comment on this very specific approach to development of Sisters, which is to start everything from a human relationship. And so just to give this to you in a nutshell, for the first three years of their work, the Sisters didn’t own a car. They used to walk, walk around the mining concessions, one of the most dangerous places on the planet, probably. And for this work, they were called The Walking Sisters. It was very unusual to see religious people in and around mining concessions and engaging in conversations with artisanal miners. Then a focus on process and outcomes. So trying really to set up this program in a structured way, that could also speak to different stakeholders. We’ve been engaged in a dialogue around these findings that we did not expect to find, with mining companies, Government at many different levels. We were invited by the OECD to talk about this, at the Pontifical Academy, at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. And we have become members of the Global Battery Alliance, where we’re bringing the voice of the community. So really trying to structure the work also to address the root causes and call in the different stakeholders involved in the supply chain. And this was also a sort of strategy to make sure that we could bring in from the periphery those who are at the center of the problem within the supply chain. The responsibilities that we identified within the supply chain are definitely many. And in the title of this webinar, we talk about demand. Within the supply chain, demand lays in at different steps. As you know, supply chains have tiers. And so we have demand from companies that have to buy these commodities, these materials. And then we have at the end, at the very end of the chain, our demand as consumers. And so how are we involved in this process? How can we talk about corporate responsibility and responsible consumption? So looking at due diligence duties of companies, we know that there are standards and they are not binding. We’ve been involved with Mirjam in the discussion at the UN, the Council in Geneva, around the possibility to have a binding treaty around human rights and business. And we know that this is a very challenging issue, probably not really down the line in terms of time frame. So what is available is the framework of the UN Principle on Human Rights and Businesses, and we know that according to that, just adopting a derisking approach by companies is not sufficient. That’s why we’re calling in companies to look further, to look down the supply chain, and engage with NGOs and the other stakeholders on the ground to look at ways to meaningfully involve the communities in a strategy that tackles these three dimensions: prevention, protection, and remediation of human rights violations. This is the process to call companies into in order to really discuss concretely about responsibility. Responsibiliy is not just putting a label on your devices, on your batteries, on your phone, to say that we did our paper work on due diligence. This is not sufficient because we know that the upstream, these measures are not enforced. They are not monitored independently, and therefore huge gaps still persist where human rights violations happen. So what can companies and consumers do? First of all, of course, we call companies to put their hands in their pockets and support development programs at the grassroots, because they are meaningful and they engage the communities in a way that gives them voice and agency. Secondly, we have all the duty, companies and consumers, to put pressure on those who have responsibilities. So companies and Government at the same time to exercise their duties to keep people safe. And we can do this through our NGO voice in all our platforms, but also through our consumer behaviors of, you know, attention to those companies that are really investing in the right direction, not just in words and advertising. There’s a big role and you are based in Geneva, I’m sure you’re very sensitive to this, that investors can do in this. And I know many investment groups that have been looking very closely besides the classical ESG standards to look at what happens in the supply chains and avoiding companies that were not really disclosing. And what was more interesting is that these investment groups are now reaching out to NGOs at the grassroots to ask, are these companies really doing something that is trickling down at the upstream of the supply chains? And so far we have not been able to give very good scores, I have to say. And that applies to Governments, too. Let’s remember that human right violations connected to business activities is not just the responsibility of companies. Let’s not get Governments off the hook. They have a major responsibility to protect their populations, to ensure that the legislation is adequate and to ensure that the communities can have access to their basic rights. So let’s not give companies powers that they shouldn’t have, because in places like Kolwezi we see this happening. And this is not right. It should not be the “concession” of rights by companies ruling the life of these populations. It has to be the rule of law that ensures their capacity to access their basic rights. So I will stop here. I hope I gave you a bit of an overview of the issue, and I’m available for any questions. Thank you.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you, Cristina. So I will not speak for myself. I see the reactions from the audience: Anne says, “Thank you for this very practical response to such a complex issue and its interplay with sustainability.” She’s from Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of US Sisters Against Trafficking. There are already questions, and I want to tell the audience that Cristina has to leave us in 30 minutes. There was a request for the PowerPoint presentation. You can download the PowerPoint presentation when you click right above on Handouts. You’ll see a presentation, Cristina Duranti, and the date of today. You can download it and you can download more information about this webinar in more handouts, and I think I will just start to put the questions that are already there to Cristina. And you can ask questions now or even after the second speaker. But I want just to give enough time to Cristina before she leaves. And so there is one. So there was one question, “You spoke about putting pressure on Governments, to endorse it,” so the last practical tips you gave. And there was a question from the Sister Rose. She said, “Are there links that we can do this?” Do you know about something accessible?
CRISTINA DURANTI: You mean links to get information?
MIRJAM BEIKE: I think information maybe, but I’m not sure. You said something like petitions, or where we can… How to take action, concrete action? Because I think it’s really complex. And if you want to support it, how to do it if you are not so much in the topic? It’s difficult.
CRISTINA DURANTI: Yes. It’s not so easy. There have been a number of campaigns. I would say the most visible one that created a lot of pressure is the one that Amnesty International started in 2016 when they launched their first report on child labor in the supply chain of batteries. And since then, they’ve launched a number of campaigns in collaboration with various countries: the Netherlands, the UK, France. And this has created quite a momentum. There’s definitely, I would say, the possibility to support organisations at the grassroots that work with the communities and help directly the communities to work around their rights. One, of course, is us, Bon Pasteur. But there’s others, like AFREWATCH, and other NGOs that focus on the environmental impact of these activities, like RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development), another Swiss NGO that has done a lot of work. It’s Fastenopfer, who’s been reporting regularly around the impact of Glencore’s activities in this area. Let’s remember, Glencore is one of the major players. And so these are just some examples and some names available. I would say, to be on the very concrete side, if you want to have direct impact with what’s going on the ground to support programs like Bon Pasteur Kolwezi with donations, but also spreading the word around what we do. On the other end, to join the initiatives like the one of Amnesty and Fastenopfer, that come out on a regular basis to write. There was a moment when these NGOs asked for consumers to write to the companies, Apple, Samsung, to the automotive companies, and ask how were the batteries produced, how safe, how child labor free? How can you demonstrate you’re child labor free and put pressure on social media, on regular, you know, old fashioned media. So this has been what we’ve observed has worked to some extent, putting pressure and prompting companies to respond. The response is still insufficient. But we also have to acknowledge that it’s a very complex theme where, as I said, we have two main actors at play: big corporations and Government. And so we need to look at both ends. With the DRC Government, the type of action that can be taken is definitely in the international fora, starting from OECD and the UN to report on what’s really happening and hold the Government accountable. This is not, let’s say, a totally safe kind of work, because we know that these are very fragile political context. And our people on the ground, who advocate for rights need to be very attentive and safe. But definitely, the focus on child rights is now a top priority for these Governments as well. And I have to say, this is also thanks to the work of the NGOs that have denounced this reality. Up until six/seven years ago, there was a tendency to deny the phenomenon of child labor in the cobalt mines, and so we have a duty also to create a safe space for human rights advocates to bring this information forward.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you very much for this comprehensive answer. We have some more questions, but I think I will put them a little bit later, after Brian. Now, you said, supporting the grassroots is one way to help. Just today, you launched a musical about the history of our congregation. So now I put a link in the chat. You can all see it, “Euphrasia: the Musical”. I have already heard it because I was working also to help with subtitles, and I find it very, very beautiful. It’s about two hours, and you sell tickets to watch it. So who wants to support the work of the Good Shepherd International Foundation can buy the access to this musical that was launched today, and that is also a possibility. Now disclaimer out. Thank you very much. There’s another reaction: “I agree with the holistic approach, a very clear presentation. Thanks for this example, Kolwezi in Africa.” So there’s a lot of positive response in the audience. But now I want to give the floor to Brian. So Brian Iselin is the founder of Geneva based slavefreetrade, a nonprofit working on leveraging the might of the blockchain, to rid the world of slave labor. Please, Brian, you have the floor.
BRIAN ISELIN: Thanks very much, Sister, and thank you also to Michel for bringing together this fabulous event and for Cristina for that terrific intervention. Beautiful information we received. I want to open with a few quotes. Some of them you’ll know, some of them, you won’t. “The consumer is king.” “Every man is a consumer and ought to be a producer.” I think that was Ralph Waldo Emerson. “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” “A consumer is a shopper who is sore about something”, from The Humorist. “Good merchandise, even hidden, soon finds buyers.” Almost anyone who is anyone in history has something to say about this beast, that we call the consumer. Let me add my own quotation to this. “Everyone gets something right about the consumer, but nobody gets everything right about the consumer”. One of the first reactions I got from a big fund of the grants in the trafficking freedom space to my idea to speak to consumers, was dismissed that consumers don’t count. The same reaction then came from a roundtable on corporate accountability. “Consumers don’t mean anything”. Then the same from a big foundation funding sustainability projects, and then the same from an old philanthropy foundation dealing with job skewing, at migration source. We see all of this every day, time and again. Tired awareness raising supply side initiatives, billions of dollars a year spent on the supply side every year, I’ve been working on them for 20 years now myself, and this is going to be a very unpopular opinion. But in many ways, this has become little more than a development assistance gravy train. It’s rarely questioned, seldom tested, and never really rethought. I was even blocked by a foundation on LinkedIn when I questioned their multipliers that they were using to justify the sustainability of their activity. If there is one thing I can say with certainty about the last four years where I’ve been working, trying to figure out what we can do on the demand side of counter human trafficking, is that there are very strong interests in not engaging a broader audience. All evidence points to the fact that there are really significant vested interests in accommodating only the status quo on the supply side of the equation. And to be sure, demand side solutions are not the status quo. I could count the number of demand side solutions in the world on one hand. At present, huge money goes into rather low impact initiatives if we’re talking about macro impact. Because of the enticing allure of this thing, I call them more troops gambit, that is that the resources allocated didn’t bring success, so we need more resources in order to assure success. The cyclical nature of that suggests to what we’re talking about. It didn’t work in the Vietnam War or the Afghanistan war, didn’t work in the war on drugs, hasn’t worked in the war on terror. And it won’t work on human trafficking. All of those interests I’ve spoken to over the last four years dismissing out of hand the role that demand can play, just dismiss the consumer. And looking back, one thing that those people invariably didn’t know, was actually human trafficking. A lot of them were administrators. They didn’t know human trafficking from the inside, deeply, viscerally. They haven’t met face to face with traffickers. They hadn’t had their hands on bodies that have been found in workplaces. They haven’t lived it, haven’t seen it, and they haven’t used their bare hands to try to dismantle it. Or if they did, they’re on the gravy train now: big paying jobs, managing the status quo, guaranteeing the perpetuation of their own organisation. The world of people working on demand side solutions are very few, and yet the demand side of the equation is heavily populated. It’s just by people who don’t yet know or understand the role they have to play. In economic terms, in behavioral economics, which is one of my fields, we talk about these people as unpotentiated actors. Now, there are great many buyers out there for the fruits of human trafficking and modern slavery, more than you could ever imagine. By and large, buyers of human trafficking, and you will recognize this probably in your own responses to human trafficking: reduce it to a criminal act, played out in distant lands by criminal enterprises in the dead of night. Because that’s what orthodoxy says is happening. Orthodoxy says it’s crafty criminals in far off lands. Orthodoxy doesn’t say it’s the corporate malfeasance of those people that we have around to dinner or meeting webinars. Orthodoxy says it’s miscreants and a criminal minority. It doesn’t say that it’s the 77% of businesses that admit they likely have slavery in their business but do nothing about it. The conversation at the moment is rooted in criminal conspiracies and divergent people, because that’s convenient. That perpetuates the status quo, perpetuates the budgets of the gravy train, and upsets no uppercuts. And it doesn’t make anyone think twice. And the truth is, and this can’t be sugarcoated, so I’m not going to, Michel knows me well, I won’t sugarcoat it. It’s inconvenient. It’s an inconvenient truth. The real demand for human trafficking that drives the markets is the dispassionate, disengaged buyer at the retail end and the businesses that bring us together with our products. But who do I mean? Who constitutes demand? Who constitutes the consumer? Yes, of course, I mean, the high street buyer of a fast fashion T‑shirt, or any fashion, doesn’t even have to be fast fashion, let’s face it. But also, the other shoppers in supermarkets looking at prawns and canned tomatoes. It’s the investors flicking through the New York Stock Exchange app looking for a safe goodbye. The category manager at the city of who knows where, evaluating bids for uniforms for that city’s bus drivers. It’s the millennial looking on Glassdoor for ratings of their next employer. It’s the procurement team at a UN agency buying phones for their entire staff. Anyone who makes a buying decision based on what they can see and know about a product, is the demand. That’s the consumer, it’s a very broad understanding. And these people collectively drive human trafficking. For one hugely simple and massively overlooked reason: every purchase is an approval. Every decision to choose one product over another is an authorization. That person is approving with their purchase, their investment, their winning bid evaluation, the way in which the company they are engaging with through that purchase, it’s a transaction. They’re approving the way they do things. An investor putting money into AMP is approving the way AMP does things. It’s approving the way the company is run, it is approving what goes on in the company and who the company deals with. A millennial choosing a job at Abercrombie and Fitch is approving the way the company is run, approving how staff are treated, approving its ethical and sustainability positions, whether they’re accurate or greenwashing. You buying prawns or canned tomatoes in the supermarket, are approving the way those tomatoes were produced and picked, or the way those prawns were caught. For me, it was almost 20 years ago now when I investigated a 12 year old boy shot in the head and dumped overboard from a prawn boat, prawns that ended up in freezers across Europe. So we are eating the prawns. We are eating the canned tomatoes and we are approving the way they are picked, caught, produced. When Orange County, California, chooses uniforms for those bus drivers I mentioned before, they’re approving the way the uniforms are made and the way the produce came into the world, and yet they know almost nothing. On what evidence do any of these consumers make decisions that ultimately are sealing their approval on a company or a product? In fact, almost none. Made in China as a tag means nothing. Made in Bangladesh means nothing. Made in Australia means nothing. The rules around labeling and the provenance of products are so malleable so as to be an irrelevance for decision making. I, with 20 years experience in supply chains, I can’t go into a store and look at the label and tell you anything about the conditions under which that was made. And yet these decisions are made billions of times every day by people all over the world, in these various capacities as investor, procurement manager, consumer, shopper, and they’re made with little evidence of the way the business is actually conducted. So think about these approvals, think about every single approval as a wave, as a flapping of a butterfly’s wings. Billions of these approvals every day tell business, tell big brands in particular, that’s the way you should do business, because we’re going to approve it every time. Businesses do, they bank on it. Just as all of these audience vote to approve things billions of times a day, they’re almost never asked to not approve something in the same way. They are generally underestimated, dismissed, trivialized, downplayed, and frankly, not helped to make those decisions. So let me just clarify what is being downplayed? What are the implications here? What’s being dismissed by these so-called influencers that don’t believe consumers have a say, or should have a say? Nine trillion dollars a year in public spending in the OECD alone. $51.1 billion a year in sustainable investing and doubling every year. £41 billion a year in the UK alone on ethical consumption. Not only are these numbers worth paying attention to, the fact is that at present, they’re completely underutilized as a force for good. And it doesn’t take mandatory means. It doesn’t take a law or a convention. What it takes, in behavioral economics terms, is preference shifting. It takes each of the consuming people in that mass, to simply shift their buying preferences some of the time. So we again, and if you’ve listened to me before, you’ve heard me say this a few times, we’re not talking about a thousand people buying perfectly all the time. We’re talking about millions of people buying imperfectly some of the time. Imagine when that public procurement official has five bids on their desk for those bus driver uniforms that I mentioned and has to choose between them, and only one of them can prove there and then, with real time data, that they have not harmed anybody in the making of those products. How difficult does that evaluation become? If they shift that preference, one small shift of preference to the bid, that is evaluated with social sustainability in mind that hasn’t harmed anybody. That is the butterfly’s wings. That creates the tsunami at the supply side end. Imagine the weary shopper plopping down at a café for a fresh bout of caffeine, and being offered the slave free coffee. How hard is that decision? We’ve tested this at slavefreetrade and there is 100 percent consumer conversion to the slave free version when it’s offered. 100 percent consumer conversion. You can’t tell me we should be ignoring that. Imagine the sustainable investor scrolling through the New York Stock Exchange app, sees one of the firms they’re looking at, it’s human rights friendly. How hard is their decision to invest in that company instead of another one? They’ve got a micro decision to make, a micro behavior to do. And in that split second, multiplied millions of times, we have social change on our hands. Same for the millennial on Glassdoor, looking for a future employer. They can shift the conversation to the human rights conditions about that workplace, instead of whether that workplace has an espresso, pardon me, whether that workplace offers Nespresso capsules or not, right? Meaningful things. Human rights is the new HR. Workplaces with fundamental human rights. That’s a place you want to work. And yet, at the moment, how many of you can say that about any employer that you know, every fundamental human right is being evaluated, measured, assessed constantly? None. Gender pay gap, religious discrimination, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, child labor and forced labor. All of these conditions are on the human rights spectrum and a workplace that measures itself against all of them, that’s a workplace you can work with. And it’s the same even at the freezer at the supermarket I mentioned before, the slave free prawns are preferred instantly in a decision that takes four tenths of a second over the alternative, about which they know nothing. Now, a lot has to happen for us to get to that world. For the moment, there is absolutely no money on the demand side of the equation. All investments, all development assistance, all foundations and grants work exclusively on the supply side. Governments only fund the supply side. So that needs to shift. A few myths also need to shift. Slave free is not more expensive than slave made. This is an old idea perpetuated by the vested interests to scaremonger the population. Making people think that their $14 shirt, or that €4 chocolate will become more expensive if it’s slave free, is scaremongering. If you can tell us that your chocolate is going to be more expensive if it doesn’t harm anybody, you’re both insulting the intelligence of the buyer, and you’re demeaning the lives of those in the supply chain in the very same instance. Triple the wages made by the labor behind the $14 T‑shirt, and let me tell you, if you do the math, you still have a $14 T‑shirt. The number one excuse businesses give for not wanting to eradicate slave labor is that the T‑shirt would be more expensive. But at the same time, they say they don’t even know of any slave labor in their chain. How can those two conditions coexist? Every commodity chain I’ve worked in, from prawns, to cocoa, the entire value chain from the bottom of the commodity chain to the top is blind to the conditions at the source of production. When the prawns are sold at the first port of sale, from a boat with slaves, or a boat with free men, they sell for the same price. The slaver is not the price setter, the value chain, right from that first point of sale, knows nothing about the conditions on the prawn boat. The value chain is blind. Two bags of prawns, one from a slave boat, one from the boat of free men selling into the port at the same price. By what smoke and mirrors, do companies believe that the price of those prawns changes because one is slave free, when the entire value chain is blind to it? It’s absolutely unfathomable how it can be used as an excuse, that something is going to be more expensive if we don’t harm anybody in the making. It’s absurd and it’s disgusting. It makes absolutely no sense. In the $14 T‑shirt that I talked about, the labor at source is so cheap when you compare the entire value throughout that product. You could triple the wages of the shirt makers, and the shirt will still reach the stores at the same price, unless there’s more people gouging in the middle, of course. And in that $14 T‑shirt, 61% of the value of that $14 T‑shirt is the retailer’s. Would it actually, even if it does make it more expensive because of that tripled wage at the bottom of the chain, would it be the worst outcome in the world if they took home 60.2% retail profit instead of 61%? And when greater transparency is brought to value chains, what happens? These are achieved in value chains by bringing the kind of transparency that makes it possible to determine the conditions in workplaces. There’s actually nothing stopping us. This is absolutely something we can do except one very, very difficult thing about this conversation that I’m having with you. It means that we have to see ourselves as part of the problem. Until we locate ourselves in the chain of causation, when we do, I should say, everything becomes not just very clear, but actually very easy. We play our role as shopper, coffee drinker, category manager, buyer, investor, job seeker, head of procurement, and we will see an end to the devastating harms that come to humans in our supply chains. And I’m not arguing that we should put all available money into demand-side measures. That would be ridiculous. In all things moderation, my grandmother used to tell me. It is that we should not put it all into supply side measures. We need balance because it is only on the demand side, when you look at the economics of the markets for human trafficking, it’s only on the demand side that you can ever have a macro impact, but you can actually shrink or enlarge the dimensions of a market only on the demand side. So if we’re going to do this on human trafficking, that’s what we have to focus on. And I just want to close with one very simple message. We can do this, but we’re really going to have to start locating ourselves as a part of the problem. Thank you.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you very much, Brian. As usual, a very comprehensive view with many background information. So I have a comment here. “I think Brian is the best at speaking clearly to a complex issue. Thank you. Gratitude from Andover, USA.” So one of the reactions. Now I know Cristina you have to leave and we are in time to say goodbye to you. —Thank you.
CRISTINA DURANTI: Thank you. Thank you very much. And thanks for inviting me. I hope there will be other opportunities to meet and share. —Thanks.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you very much. —Bye. —Bye.
BRIAN ISELIN: Bye Cristina, good to meet you.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Now we have questions and I think it’s good because I think, Brian, you can face them. It’s mostly going in the same direction. It’s Anne O’Donoghue, sorry for my expert pronunciation. BRIAN ISELIN: Anne O’Donoghue, I would say.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you.
BRIAN ISELIN: You’re welcome.
MIRJAM BEIKE: I think it’s an Irish name and it’s difficult to get it.
BRIAN ISELIN: It’s a good Irish name.
MIRJAM BEIKE: I think so. “Is reputation damage enough to address modern slavery? What other measures are necessary? What is the solution to addressing modern slavery? How do we change the status quo? How to promote the demand side of human trafficking?”
BRIAN ISELIN: The first question is really easy. Reputation damage is not enough to address modern slavery. Reputation damage should be considered. And again, I’m going to talk in behavioral economics terms. Reputational damage is a demand driver. So if you think about what we’re trying to achieve is influence on a company, and if you think of it as what’s a good… Think of the company as at the center of the solar system. And what we’re trying to do is push all the planets in the solar system closer to the sun. We want to affect more pressure, more gravity on the sun, by pushing the planets towards it. So each of the planets in this solar system, in this human trafficking—modern slavery solar system, each of the planets is a demand cause, a demand driver. So reputational damage, the risk of reputational damage, is one of them. Government legislation is another, and international treaty is another. Shareholder pressure is another. Bad headlines, an activist CEO, all of these things drive companies towards it. And we need all of them, in fact, because one of those acting on its own will never achieve everything we need to achieve, because many organisations are driven by different things, that were triggered by different things. Volkswagen would be only interested in modern slavery if it helped them turn the page on their emissions scandal, right? There are other organisations that would only do it, if it made them look like a great employer, because that’s their interest. So it’s all about what triggers the interest. But we have to get all these different demand drivers and they all have to be working, all pressing in and exerting pressure to create change, because otherwise the big businesses, that most of us are talking about here when we’re talking about reputational damage, the big businesses won’t shift. They won’t shift until there’s critical mass. They won’t shift until they have to. So they are going to be the last movers, but they are the ones most influenced by things like treaties, international treaties, modern slavery laws, punitive modern slavery laws. They’re also triggered by civil litigation. We might have all recently… You might have all understood that there’s actually a rise in civil litigation to try to prosecute companies for human rights abuses in their supply chain. That’s another demand driver and it’s a beautiful one. It’ll never be big enough on its own to achieve global change. But you put them all together and we can do stuff. So that’s a very long answer to the reputational damage question. Sorry, Anne.
MIRJAM BEIKE: It is time to listen, maybe it’s time to listen to the third speaker: John Anthony McCarthy, the Chair of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Anti-Slavery Task Force. The audience can listen, of course, and also think about other questions to put into the discussion. And I also have some questions more for Brian, when we have listened to the contribution of John Anthony McCarthy.
JOHN MCCARTHY: Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important webinar. I’m not able to address all the themes in our meeting today, but I’d like to talk about the work of the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese Anti-Slavery Task Force, for those who might be interested in emulating our anti slavery work. The Anti-Slavery Taskforce was established by His Grace, The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney, in 2017. The purpose of the taskforce was to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking, for the operations and supply chains of the Archdiocese. Our work has since expanded to encompass the Church with the establishment of the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network, ACAN. My remarks today will focus on the implementation of the ACAN Modern Slavery Risk Management Program across 40 large Catholic entities, nearly 75% of Catholic activities in Australia. From education, health and aged care, finance and investment, social services and dioceses, and the corresponding Catholic Church, Modern Slavery Statements about these activities and risk, in compliance with the Australian Modern Slavery Act. The world situation of modern slavery is somber and challenging. Before COVID-19, Australia was a destination country for human trafficking, for the purpose of labor exploitation, often involving excessive recruitment fees that left workers with little or no pay. Now that so many temporary migrant workers are stranded in Australia because of COVID, and desperate for work, the deception and labor exploitation is exposed and continues. Modern slavery, forced labor, and labor exploitation continue across many sectors of the Australian economy: construction, cleaning, hospitality, horticulture, most often occurring within the formal economy in the operations and supply chains of Australian business. The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 16 million people in the Asia Pacific region who are trapped by a business model that unwittingly relies on labor exploitation. Of that 16 million, 50% are in debt bondage. 60% are exploited outside their country. And therefore, the majority of victims are migrant workers. The profits from human trafficking and modern slavery circulating the globe and the global economy, are estimated at US $150 billion. One of the greatest criminal activities in our world. Hence, the Holy Father, Pope Francis refers to the $150 billion as blood money. This is a priority area with Pope Francis, since his election to the papacy. His call for the world to come together to end slavery in this generation. If the focus continues on prosecutions, it will be impossible to reach the target of UN Sustainable Development Goals 8.7 for the eradication of forced labor, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030. In 2016, following the global leadership of Pope Francis, Australian faith organisations and Churches partnered with Australian business leaders, to advocate for modern slavery legislation in Australia. Strong advocacy for transparency and accountability in supply chains in Australia commenced. In 2018, Australia’s Modern Slavery Act came into force after significant lobbying of Government on behalf of the Churches, business, and civil society. The Act was developed through extensive consultations with the Australian business community and civil society, including the Catholic Church. Three points of the Australian Commonwealth legislation are: it applies to at least 3,000 entities, including foreign entities operating in Australia. It applies to an entity with an annual consolidated revenue of at least Australian $100 million. It applies, and this is a world first, to Commonwealth Government procurement, that is the Commonwealth’s purchase of goods and services, as well it applies to not for profit, that is Churches and Universities, or organisations. Also are required, an annual reporting in the form of a Modern Slavery Statement on all modern slavery practices criminalized under the Commonwealth Act. In their Statements, entities, have to provide information about their structure, operations and supply chains, potential modern slavery risks, and actions taken to assess and address these risks and the remediation processes, when it becomes apparent that there has been slavery or forced labor in their operations. All Statements are published on a Government run Public Central Register to ensure that they are easily accessible. Today, it is possible to search the Public Register and download over five hundred Modern Slavery Statements, covering 1,050 entities. The Archdiocese of Sydney’s Anti Slavery Task Force is coordinating an internship program with the Australian Catholic University, Thomas Moore law school students undertaking an analysis of the Modern Slavery Statements and presenting their findings. The exciting news to report is that the Register of Statements is working. There have been over 100,000 searches made already. This interest has led to an increase in Government funding and resources, media reporting and academic research focused on modern slavery in business supply chains and operations, and business investment in modern slavery risk management programs. The Australian Modern Slavery Act also applies to Church organisations. In response to the mandatory reporting regulations in the legislation, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney established and coordinates the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network, ACAN. The ACAN network is the embodiment of Catholic commitment to eradicating modern slavery risk in Catholic operations and supply chains. The 40 participating Catholic entities are supported by our task force expert staff. The ACAN network is also a forum for Catholic entities to work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and building capacity among designated modern slavery liaison officers. Together, we are taking practical and direct action to address modern slavery risks in operations and supply chain. The scale of all this is significant. ACAN entities have consolidated revenue of over $1 billion. The largest are the hospital networks, aged care homes and schools. At the beginning of the program, we analyzed the risk and identified the areas of high risk and high spend for Catholic entities. By working collectively as purchasers of goods and services, the Church can work with suppliers to improve labor practices in both operations and supply chains. The high risk areas of construction and medical supplies. The Modern Slavery Risk Management Program shared among the 40 Catholic entities involves policy, contract clauses, training for staff and supplies, 30 different templates, tools and resources. All of the resources are shared via the ACAN website and monthly webinars amongst the liaison officers of the various entities. We have also launched a new initiative to provide a comprehensive one-stop shop and confidential advice service for the Church, community and business, to access expertise and social legal support for services for victims. There’s more to say, but for now, I thank you for your interest and for this opportunity to speak today, and I warmly welcome any further collaborations worldwide and within the Church. May Saint Bakhita bless us all.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you very much for this intervention. We didn’t have actual questions, but I saw that Brian was speaking a little bit about the app, the slavefreetrade’s Freedomer app. And I think there were questions before on what we can do and how we can help. And it sounds very much like this will be a very interesting tool to be engaged with ending the demand and having a better tool to help ending abuse in supply chains. So Brian, I would give the floor to you to work out… To work a little bit about your app and what it means and how we can be involved. Thank you.
BRIAN ISELIN: Thanks so much for the opportunity. That’s great. So the Freedomer app is the first consumer facing tool. So slavefreetrade, that’s my organisation, slavefreetrade. So what we’re trying to do is harness the demand side. So the way we do that is we’re building a system that combines international human rights law and technology, so that we are building a system, we call it Libertas, after the Roman goddess of freedom. Libertas is a business facing tool in a way that is assessing and monitoring human rights conditions in workplaces globally, in real time, which, of course, is a huge undertaking, right? So we gather the data from workplaces. We have a number of core processes, we call them core processes. One of them is the workforce assessment. So we use… This is where we bring human rights laws and technology together. And we’re asking questions of individuals in workplaces on a constant basis in real time. So we just finished our first exercise, which was the first three members that joined, which is a three tier supply chain in cocoa from the UK to Colombia. We just finished the baseline assessments of all the workplaces through that chain and we got participation rates that were extremely high and very good results in a smartphone enabled context, as well as an analog phone context. And so on the basis of those, we’re able to identify what’s going on in workplaces, and then we analyze and distribute that information through what we call distributed means. Distributed means is, the audiences that I mentioned before in my talk, when I was talking about investors, consumers, millennials looking at Glassdoor, these are the distributed means. So once we find out what’s going on in workplaces, we get data from those workplaces in real time, we’re able to communicate that to the people whose buying decisions can be influenced, and we communicate it at a point when that buying decision is taking place. So on the consumer side, it’s an app. And this is where the Freedomer app comes in. So the Freedomer app is one of the things that we’re crowdfunding. We’re crowdfunding the first phase of this app. The first phase of this app is a demand creation phase. So that is if your favorite jeans, let’s say Levi’s 502s, you put Levi’s 502s into the app. The app then creates a campaign around Levi’s 502s and asks you if you want your friends and family to join the campaign or anybody else. So you can send it to friends and family. We send it to everybody else on the app and say that someone started a campaign for Levi’s 502s. Do you want Levi’s to be slave free? And if you do, you join the petition. When we have 10,000 signatures, for example, when we hit milestones, or when we have 100,000 signatures, we can go to those businesses, we can go to Levi’s and say, “You’ve got 300,000 slaves in your supply chain. What are you going to do, now that 100,000 people want you to get rid of that, want you to stop that?” So it’s a demand creation tool. And then when the products become slave free, then of course we give feedback, we intend on giving feedback to the consumer and so on. So that’s phase one. And phase one can work now without any slave free products on the shelves, because it’s about creating demand. The subsequent phase, phase two, is actually a little more exciting, but it can’t happen until there are slave free products on the shelves. So that phase is: picture the café that I mentioned earlier in my talk. You’re sitting down, you’re a shopper, you’ve gone and sat down in the café. You’ve ordered your cappuccino, you’ve ordered the slave free one because you were offered the slave free one, so you took that. And then you can actually scan the beans, the barcode of the beans. And then in the second phase of the Freedomer app, it brings up the full supply chain of those beans, the full journey to you, in a map, and every single workplace through that supply chain has its human rights performance indicated. And you can go in and look at more detail at all of those human rights performance records. They’re all live. All the data in the system is completely live, updated every 24 hours, at least, because we can’t afford to do it live. So it’ll be updated every 24 hours and then you can see the supply chain and then you can even for example, if you’re drinking single bean Guatemalan coffee, you can actually see the medias, multimedia of the plantation, and eventually you’ll even be able to send a tip to the workers in that workplace at the bottom of the chain. So these are some of the things that can be done. We’re also developing tools, APIs, as we call them. So this is a kind of a pipe between our system and other systems. A pipe for public procurement. So I mentioned before, the city, the municipality, Orange County, ordering uniforms for their bus drivers. There’ll be an API for it on our system that they can call into. So it’ll be kind of a plug into their e‑procurement system. So when they’ve got five bids to canvas, one of the bidders is in the slave free system, and so we know what their supply chain is like. We’ve monitored conditions. We are monitoring real time all the conditions in their workplaces. So that data is fed live to the procurement manager and the procurement manager has five bids and they get to choose which one they like. Obviously, we think that it’ll be compelling for the human right, the one that can prove human rights compliance, it’ll be a compelling option. At the moment that option just doesn’t exist. Same for investors. It doesn’t exist as an option. But as soon as you put that option on the table, just like with a consumer, when you offer the slave free coffee in a shop, it’s mind-expanding. You know, there’s this fantastic Ralph Waldo Emerson phrase or quote, “that the mind once expanded never regains its original shape”. You put the slave free option on the table, and consumers have never seen an awareness raising tool like it, in a café, a barista saying, “Would you like the slave free one?” The mind is expanded immediately. “That exists?” And then, “Oh, that was a problem?” And then, “Tell me more.” You know, they want to know, and the same with the prawns in the supermarket. The immediate reaction to a consumer, to the slave free, is for their mind to be expanded without even having to think about it. They see the one that says slave free. The first reaction is they look to the one next to it. They say, “Oh my God, what’s that then?” And even if they don’t buy the slave free ones, they would rather leave the store empty handed than buy those of the other one, because they just don’t know anymore. So we’re introducing this incredible doubt, if you like, that slavery does exist behind all of these products. And it there’s a slave free chocolate, then what are the others? So it’s a really very, very exciting project, a massive, massive project, completely unfunded project, let me just say, but it’s going to be really quite incredible what we can achieve together. Because we are very much talking about mobilizing every individual or as many individuals as we can, to be those butterfly’s wings. And let’s see what tsunami happens. One person changing to choosing the slave free coffee, that simple micro action triggers behaviors in the supply chain and shifts in the value chain that for the moment, we can’t imagine. That’s the Freedomer app.
MIRJAM BEIKE: Thank you very much. It’s very interesting just to hear that one single action can already trigger some change and some reaction. That’s indeed something. So there are congratulations to the presenters, and very clear presentations were experienced from the audience. But we don’t have an actual question anymore. And it’s nearly time to stop and to close the webinar. So I would hand over now to Michel for the closing.
MICHEL VEUTHEY: Thank very much, Mirjam. At the end of this second webinar, allow me to thank again all organizers, including our webmaster Yves Reichenbach, and my assistant, Clara Iseppi. My gratitude to all speakers for their clear, powerful statements and moving testimonies. And as Pope Francis says, in the Laudato si’ encyclical letter, and here I quote, “Everything is connected. Genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature are inseparable from fraternity, justice, and faithfulness to others.” End of quote. We shall meet again next Tuesday, 27 April, at the same time, to continue the discussion and see the role of technology in human trafficking. In the meantime, I do encourage you to visit the www.christusliberat.org website, where you will find a treasure chest of best practices and access to a free online course on human trafficking for helpers and the opportunity to register to our future webinars. Goodbye now. I wish you a good week.
BRIAN ISELIN: Super, goodnight. Thanks, Michel. Thank you Sr. Mirjam.
MICHEL VEUTHEY: Thanks, Brian. Very forceful, very convincing.