Slavery Is Illegal in Every Country
Knowledge about forced labor is not a crime in itself. But modern anti-slavery transparency laws around the world are increasingly placing a duty of care on firms to examine one’s supply chain. Any claims of not knowing about the possibility of forced labor in the supply chain, or complacent sourcing, creates risks for a company. A comprehensive overview of many laws can explain the risks.
Under the disclosure requirements of the U.K., Australian, and California laws, a company’s decision to not examine its supply chains will be noticed by academics, media, civil society, journalists, and governments.
Under France’s human rights’ due diligence law and related legislation under consideration in a number of countries, firms have an affirmative duty, a duty to examine human rights issues in their business practices.
Under American criminal law, an entity that benefits from forced labor “knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact” that it has occurred, might be criminally liable as if they themselves were the trafficker or enslaver. Moreover, goods suspected of being tainted with forced labor, will be held at U.S. ports of entry, adding costly delays to a construction project.