January 11, 2021


COVID-19’s Impact on Human Trafficking event webcast, January 11, 2021

Michael Billet, senior manager of policy research, and Glenn Spencer, senior vice president, of the Employment Policy Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the COVID-19’s Impact on Human Trafficking event to commemorate National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Stefan J. Marculewicz, shareholder and co-chair of the Business and Human Rights Practice Group at Littler Mendelson P.C. and chair of the U.S. Chamber’s Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking, introduced keynote speaker Susan Coppedge, of counsel, Krevolin & Horst, LLC, and former Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department.

Coppedge said that employers should be aware of their legal, social, and reputational risks associated with forced labor. Forced labor indicators include retention of identity documents, accumulated debt, use of violence/intimidation, and/or threats of deportation. Employers should establish remediation and verification processes, which are considered best practices. These processes include the use of audits for suppliers and anonymous reporting lines. She recommended that Congress debate supply chain reporting disclosure requirements and that the Biden administration prioritize the issuance of nonimmigrant visas.

Bill Clark, chief advancement officer at A21, discussed how the organization has adapted to COVID-19 by developing a safe employment guide for worker recruitment and digital safety resources to identify warning signs of recruiting tactics used by online predators.

Following Clark’s remarks, Linda Szocik, Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, described an initiative led by clergy, the Milwaukee’s Sisters Program, for survivor reintegration. The Sisters Program is a group of eight Milwaukee congregations that work with the Benedict Center to provide housing and social support services to sex trafficking victims.

Anesa “Nes” Parker, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP, interviewed Sharon Prince, founder and CEO, Grace Farm Foundation, about the Foundation’s Design For Freedom Working Group. The Working Group is a new movement intended to raise awareness about forced labor in the built environment and is proposing an industry-wide call to action.

Representatives at Counter Human Trafficking Compliance Solutions (CHTCS) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced a special edition of the CHTCS Journal. The special edition highlights accomplishments of the U.S. Chamber’s Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking and includes a feature story regarding how a health care company, PatientPoint, is using CHTCS’s global risk assessment tool. The tool uses self-reporting questionnaires, coupled with data analytics and artificial intelligence, to detect forced labor patterns.

Christine Murray, correspondent on human trafficking and slavery at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, moderated a discussion with Rochelle Keyhan, CEO at Collective Liberty, and Joseph Scaramucci, detective of human trafficking at the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office (Waco, Texas). Collective Liberty automates research and provides real-time analysis for human trafficking law enforcement investigations. Keyhan articulated the need for hotel, transportation, and financial institutions to assist criminal law enforcement investigations when requested. Based on the information provided by Collective Liberty, Scaramucci has used the platform to identify traffickers.

Carla Stephens, founder, Stop Trafficking Mission Funding and Human Trafficking Advocate, led a discussion featuring representatives of businesses and non-governmental organizations on how the private sector has developed partnerships to raise awareness.

Ashleigh S. Chapman, J.D., human rights lawyer and social entrepreneur, is president of the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration, and Justice, to fight trafficking. The Alliance created the Freedom Council to bring business solutions to address the problem of human trafficking and developed the Hire Hope program, with the assistance of Randstad USA, to provide job training and employment opportunities for human trafficking survivors.

Jennifer Swain, executive director of youthSpark, Inc., said, “At youthSpark, we started out as residential services. Today, we have a unique public-private partnership with the Fulton County Juvenile Court to reach at-risk youth as early as possible.”

Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, president of Social Impact and The UPS Foundation, said that UPS has pivoted during the global pandemic to provide human trafficking driver education awareness training provided by Truckers Against Trafficking through the use of technology, including online modules.