Pandemic complicates supplier audits, increases modern slavery risk in Asian manufacturing hubs

Dive Brief:

  • The risk of modern slavery in Asian manufacturing hubs has increased “significantly” over the last four years, and the pandemic has complicated the auditing process for corporate procurement, according to the Verisk Maplecroft Modern Slavery Index, which measures a business’ risk with slavery, human trafficking and forced labor in supply chains, operations and service providers.
  • Manufacturing hubs like Bangladesh (18th highest risk globally), China (20th), Myanmar (23rd), India (25th), Cambodia (32nd), Vietnam (35th) and Indonesia (44th) dropped to their lowest level on the index since 2017 and have either extreme or high risk of slavery cases. Slavery cases are most common in North Korea, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Congo, the Gambia and Burundi, according to the index.
  • “Travel restrictions and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have left the ability of companies to carry out audits to ensure ethical working practices in their supply chains in disarray,” Sofia Nazalya, a Human Rights Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, said in a statement. “The reputational risk to brands from association with modern slavery is, therefore, now higher than at any other time over recent years.”

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Source: Supply Chain Dive