L’altissi­ma doman­da di prodot­ti molto eco­nomi­ci, la spi­eta­ta con­cor­ren­za inter­nazionale e la com­p­lessità delle reti inter­nazion­ali di sub­ap­pal­ta­tori legate a ques­ta glob­al­iz­zazione sen­za freni né regole ha cre­ato, come mai pri­ma nel­la sto­ria, molte oppor­tu­nità per i crim­i­nali di pro­durre beni e servizi con gli schi­avi. Come pos­si­amo edu­care la doman­da e incor­ag­gia­re i pro­dut­tori a con­trol­lare rig­orosa­mente le loro catene di produzione?

La domanda come causa principale della tratta — Lavoro forzato, responsabilità del consumatore

  • 1. Dis­cor­so di aper­tu­ra del Pro­fes­sor Michel Veuthey, Ambas­ci­a­tore del Sovra­no Ordine di Mal­ta per il mon­i­tor­ag­gio e la lot­ta al traf­fi­co di persone
  • 2. Sr. Mir­jam Beike, RGS, Moderatrice
  • 3. Intro­duzione sul ruo­lo del­la doman­da di Bri­an Iselin, fonda­tore di SLAVE FREE TRADE
  • 4. John Antho­ny McCarthy, pres­i­dente del team esec­u­ti­vo del­la Anti-Slav­ery Task­force del­l’ar­cid­io­ce­si cat­toli­ca di Syd­ney, ambas­ci­a­tore aus­traliano pres­so la San­ta Sede dal 2012–2016, QC, Queens Coun­sel del NSW Bar e avvo­ca­to a Sydney.
  • 5. Cristi­na Duran­ti, diret­trice di GSIF Good Shep­herd Inter­na­tion­al Foun­da­tion che ha vin­to il Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion Stop Slav­ery Award per il suo lavoro di lot­ta con­tro lo sfrut­ta­men­to dei bam­bi­ni, costret­ti a lavo­rare nelle miniere del­la RD Congo.

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.

 

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