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Shipping Made Simple.
As the end consumer of such goods as jewelry, clothing, bedding, and other household items, Americans rarely spend time considering how much human labor goes into harvesting, producing, shipping, and selling each element of the process. Starting from the humble cotton farmers or precious metal miners and ending with swanky retail stores in the US, the many stages of the process span the planet and navigate many governments and policies. The US, by and large, has good regulations that mandate safe working environments, prohibit price gouging, and ensure that people are paid at least a minimum wage.
For corporations that source raw or semi-raw materials from outside the US, though, the legal obligation to treat workers with dignity is greatly diminished if present at all. Things like minimum wage, OSHA, workers comp, and sick leave aren’t mandated, and there has been little public pressure from end consumers in America to demand safety for people all along the supply chain.
In the 1990s, a huge expose on the conditions of Nike’s workers in Korea, Taiwan, and China made headlines and drew ire from western buyers in North America and Europe alike. International charity organizations and labor unions embarked on a media campaign to raise awareness for the mistreatment of Nike’s workers and sent lawyers and aid workers to help stir the movement on the ground. Today, Nike has much improved the way they treat their international labor supply, but now and again, new information surfaces about the conditions of the poorest laborers.
In the precious metals and precious gems industry, the human rights abuses are escalated because of the danger intrinsic to mining and excavating. In the US, coal miners are still fighting for adequate safety protection, insurance that covers black lung, and technology that will prevent disasters from happening. Deep in the heart of Africa, desperately poor workers receive little to no protection from employers and daily risk their limbs and lives for small wages.
Some small companies have already begun making sure that every person in their supply chain is treated with respect and dignity for the work they do in dying and sewing clothing. Lush Bazaar, for example, hires both men and women and offers a safe working space, regular breaks, and a living wage. Tina Tangalakis founded Della Fashion so she could provide Ghanaian women with not only a stable job but also maternity leave, personal finance classes, and childcare.
More and more pressure is building both from consumers and from organizations like the UN to end unfair labor practices for workers in developing nations, with many releasing new guidelines for participation in international trade. In time, we hope to see improved working conditions for people at every point on the supply chain.
March 4th, 2018 – Long Beach, CA
Trinity Logistics at TPM Conference
February 28th, 2018 – New York
About TRACE International, Inc.
TRACE provides an end-to-end, cost-effective and practical solution for anti-bribery and third party compliance. TRACE International, the leading anti-bribery standard setting business association, pools resources to provide members with technology-enabled compliance tools and an expansive knowledge center. TRACE members include hundreds of multinational corporations, as well as thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the world. TRACE International works with TRACE Incorporated to offer both members and non-members customizable risk-based due diligence, training and advisory services. With a shared mission to advance commercial transparency, TRACE International and TRACE Incorporated provide companies with one complete anti-bribery and third party compliance solution.