Change.org and California-based anti-human trafficking organization Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking just launched a petition calling for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign two pieces of legislation that seek to eliminate slavery in California’s supply chain. As part of ATEST, Free the Slaves has officially endorsed one of these bills—SB 657, the California Supply Chain Transparency Act.
Today it is estimated that nearly 12.3 million people—equal to nearly one-third of California’s total population — are working in some form of forced labor worldwide.
Across the country, existing state and federal laws make human trafficking a crime, while providing various remedies and supports to victims. Yet, state and federal laws have done little to address the growing markets that consume products tainted with slavery and trafficking.
In September 2009, the US Department of Labor released its “List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor.” The report found nearly 122 goods from 58 countries that are believed to be tainted with forced and/or child labor.
Undoubtedly, many of those goods are consumed in California—home to the 10th largest economy in the world with hundreds of billions of dollars of imports pouring into the state each year. California consumers and businesses—by the nature and scope of their purchasing power—are uniquely positioned to eradicate slavery and trafficking through their purchasing choices.