Supply Chain discourse over theyears has gathered more concern based on its economic implications and mostlytackling the problems that lurks around its effectiveness.
Aside from buildingresilient supply chain frameworks to withstand disruptions, pressing globalissues such as Modern slavery in supply chain activities now bedevils itsoperations. Given the fact that slavery is an ancient and barbaric act, the contemporary doesn’t meanthe archaic exist no more – and Slavery is simply saying ”I have come tostay.” That sure sounds like a bragging right but until we do something aboutit, this may just be the fate of many in times to come as is the fate of many thisvery moment.
Slavery has been more of a cursethan blessing, it shaped centuries from time immemorial to this present age,and it surely will do it again. Humanity is at the tipping point betweenfreedom and servitude and slavery has just been given a different kind of pushand it has vowed to stay. To go back a bit to where it began, it waspractically brutish and men owned men like properties – another era saw slaverycome in a different package.
Feudalism it is, a period of Serfdom where Serfs(almost equal to Slaves) were at the mercy of their Lords, and after a whilecame Capitalism where labour is been exchange for wages. Capitalism seems a bitfair as anyone could get to the peak of the pyramid – the peak is that largeenough to accommodate. SLAVERY’S CHAININ SUPPLY CHAINRegardless of what many around theworld may think; slavery although presently illegal all over the world and(criminalized in Mauritania not until 2007) has found its way back into thesociety – it simply never left but transfigured into what many now tag asModern Slavery, it operates in several ways but not limited to bonded labour ordebt bondage, chattel slavery and forced labour. With recent increase in thenumber of illegal emigration, modern slavery has found its way into supplychain networks, giving some industries the opportunity to exploit and takeundue advantage of helpless men, women and children who supposedly fled theirhome country in search of greener pastures and mostly for refuge sake as aresult of civil unrest and other forms of insecurity back home.According to the Global SlaveryIndex report of 2016, an estimated number of 45.8 Million people findthemselves in the chains of modern slavery globally, while 58 per cent of thoseliving in slavery are in countries like India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh,Uzbekistan etc, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar have thehighest proportion of their population in modern slavery and virtually all theseaffected individuals constitute the slaves in supply chain activities today. In the midst of scarce resources,inevitable disruptions in supply chain activities, uneven and unhealthycompetition amongst industries, modern Slaves come very handy and dragooned toproduce, gather and supply most of the raw materials and end products consumedglobally.
These advertently help industries involved in this inhuman act breakeven and maximize profit. These end products or materials could be a sparklingdiamond you own which could have been unearth and produced by child slaves inSierra Leone, or a piece of fabric manufactured by a slave industry in Nepal orthat Tri Cycle assembled in India – it could be anything we own today butmanufactured by people enslaved. IS THE WORLDJUST WATCHING?Human trafficking and illegalemigration is not a new discourse – but the events that took place during andafter the Arab Spring that began on 17th day of December, 2010 inTunisia and immediately spread to other countries like Egypt, Lybia, Syria,Bahrain and Yemen created high level of tension and civil unrest in the Middleeast, giving room for violent protest, civil wars and acts of terror, renderedmany homeless and left them no choice but to seek refuge in other countries –as a result, Europe experienced a great influx of multitudes from these middleeast countries. With the fact that this emigrants would want to earn littlepennies to survive the days, a job of any sort was worth it. Some Industries insearch for cheap or free labour immediately capitalize on this situation to thedetriment of unsuspecting refugees seeking to make ends meet.However, with deterioratingsituations of modern slavery in Italy and Romania which according to the ModernSlavery Index (MSI) are reaching their boiling points, Turkey also seem to begathering much heat as a result of the inflow of people in their thousandscaused by the Syrian war coupled with Turkeys stringent work permits, leavingrefugees no choice but to accept unfavourable working agreements andenvironment.
The Turkish government has done little next to nothing to addressthis situation in order to avoid civil unrest from citizens; Italy and Romaniaseem to also follow the same direction based on the MSI reports and situationsof modern slavery is expected to go on the rise in Italy in coming years.Nevertheless, the Modern SlaveryAct proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May which was passed in 2015, became atrailblazing action towards addressing the modern slavery menace. The lawcalled for all industries in the UK with revenue of £36 million or more to publicizea transparent report on activities surrounding what they are doing to guaranteethere is no slavery in their supply chains. But because of supply chaincomplexity and inevitable circumstances, it has become extremely difficult forUK constituted authorities to enforce effectively this law(s) However, countries like, Philippines,Brazil, Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Albania etc. are taking boldmoves to react to this issue. Countries taking the front burner in respondingto modern slavery are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden,Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Norway.
Whereas, Qatar,Singapore, Kuwait, Brunei etc that happen to have requisite resources toaddress this situation have taken little or no action to address modernslavery.