Feb 05, 2018 - 1:15pm

How Walmart Is Combating Human Trafficking

Our Efforts

Walmart believes that all people deserve safe, healthy, working conditions that are free from coercion and brings together stakeholders, including suppliers, industries, governments, and international organizations, to address the risk of forced labor in global supply chains.

For example, we work through the Consumer Goods Forum to roll out the Priority Principles on Forced Labor. Toward that end, we are helping make responsible recruitment the norm for the global supply chain within a decade to reduce the risks regarding exploitation of workers. Our steps include joining as a core member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment and developing pilots to test certification of labor agencies.

Through the Seafood Task Force, our company is joining forces with retailers, suppliers, and NGOs to tackle Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) in the farmed shrimp supply chain in Thailand. This work is critical to addressing potential labor abuses and unsustainable fishing practices in the industry. The task force is developing a range of tools including a supply chain Code of Conduct, an audit process, and mechanisms for vessel tracking—all aimed at driving increased transparency in supply chains.

“We will play a leadership role in promoting the dignity of people who make the products we sell. Those who work in our supply chain should be recruited and employed responsibly.” —Doug McMillon, Net Impact Conference, November 4, 2016

Partnering with two major produce associations, our business is developing an Ethical Charter for the produce industry that contains commitments against forced labor for responsible recruitment. The draft Ethical Charter is undergoing public review, and once finalized, the associations plan to develop training and tools for implementation.

Walmart joined the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and is collaborating to identify potential forced labor risks in the global electronics supply chain, as well as develop tools for responsible recruitment in other industries.

Walmart Foundation is identifying opportunities to invest in innovative solutions to some of the biggest potential risks of forced labor and human trafficking. We are beginning to work with a variety of technology firms and NGOs to recognize new solutions to address forced labor risks.

A sample of our collaborative efforts follow:

  • The Polaris Project: $2 million to operate a crisis hotline to increase capacity to track and respond to reports of trafficking.
  • Issara Institute: $400,000 to develop a comprehensive set of data and analytics and innovative tools to assess the nature and prevalence of forced labor and trafficking in the Thai seafood sector.
  • International Justice Mission: $2 million, two-year grant to apply casework and criminal analytics to end impunity for traffickers in the Thai fishing industry.

We also use our voice to advocate for the U.S. and foreign governments to support the human dignity of workers in the supply chain. Through embassy visits, in-country meetings, and executive engagement at global forums, we encourage governments to enforce their laws, promote ethical recruitment in the employment of workers, and address pervasive social issues in the supply chain.