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You might be surprise a the products in your supply chain that have been made through modern-day slavery. (Photo: iStock)

When the media talks about human trafficking, the first thing that comes to mind is the kidnapping and sale of women and children — of girls lured from their homes. But human trafficking is more than just sex trafficking. Many victims of trafficking are conscripted into modern-day slavery through force, fraud or coercion. This takes the form of debt bondage, forced labor and involuntary child labor. Human trafficking is also a supply chain issue, and the companies involved may not even be aware of the violations.

Human trafficking in the supply chain may take many forms. For example, a consumer might stay at a hotel where the sheets were made from cotton harvested by migrant farmers who work with no water and no rest. They may consume a chocolate they found on their pillow, made from cocoa beans picked using child labor. They could order shrimp for dinner which was fished using forced labor, and served in a restaurant where the dishwashers and waiters have had their passports confiscated. During dinner, they might take a call on a cellphone built with materials that were mined by children and assembled by bonded labor.

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