Representative Carolyn Maloney (D–New York) announced last week that she will introduce a federal bill modeled on the California Supply Chain Transparency Act (SB 657), recently signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. SB 657 requires all businesses that trade in California and gross over $100 million globally, to reveal what they are doing to eradicate slavery in their supply chains.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to other members of Congress, Maloney said this proposed bill, titled Slavery Prevention Supply Chains Act will “allow consumers to make better, more informed choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices throughout the supply chain.” Like the California law, this federal bill will require companies grossing over $100 million to post on their websites the systems they have in place to keep their supply chains slavery free.
Free the Slaves has been a public supporter of the California legislation. Together with our colleagues at the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), we sent Gov. Schwarzenegger a letter urging him to sign the law. Read our statement here (PDF).
Making consumers aware that slavery may exist in the products we use is a powerful step. But it will take more than this to eradicate slavery. The law only requires that businesses reveal their voluntary efforts in keeping a slave-free supply chain. More legislation and follow up is needed to keep the momentum going.
Maloney seems to agree with our stance. She says, “This is one step in a multi-pronged approach to attacking a horrific problem that plagues the world but is found right here in our own back yards. With increased knowledge, consumers can let their opinions on human slavery be known through their pocketbooks.”
Maloney has had a hand in several anti human trafficking bills making their way through congress, including the Prevention of Trafficking of Tsunami Orphans Act of 2005 (H.R. 950)—in response to the alarming trend of vulnerable children falling prey to traffickers in disaster zones.