Rows of Prison Cells - Prison Interior

How to Conduct Effective Forced Labor Due Diligence at Scale?

Social audits have proven to be ineffective in detecting and preventing debt bonded labor, the most pervasive and entrenched form of forced labor in global supply chains today. While deep dive, focused, worker-centric investigations of the type conducted by Verité and like-minded organizations, are the gold standard to detect and remedy these abuses, it is neither practical nor cost effective for buyers, investors, and other stakeholders to use this approach at every workplace in high-risk countries, sectors, supply chain tiers, or migration corridors.

So how do you take an effective, risk-based approach to forced labor due diligence without having to “boil the ocean”?

Verité has developed, tested, and implemented a validated and reliable approach to forced labor due diligence that can be deployed at scale, and at a fraction of the cost of social audits. CUMULUS Forced Labor Screen™ is a patented, secure, technology-driven third-party risk management system that remotely maps labor supply chains and proactively screens priority operations, supply chains, and investment portfolios for the presence of the International Labour Organization (ILO) forced labor indicators.

Because the due diligence process includes a forensic analysis of recruitment and other practices that correlate very closely with the presence of the ILO forced labor indicators, CUMULUS detects risks that social audits and existing screening approaches routinely fail to identify. In addition to providing users with recommended remedial and preventive measures, CUMULUS also continuously and confidentially shares common exposure among users to forced labor risk.

The CUMULUS system recently surpassed a major milestone, having screened more than 1,000 entities in global supply chains, including 350 employers from 15 discrete industry sectors operating in 18 countries and 750 of their recruitment agents from more than 40 countries.

Users can access their data on a private dashboard and/or incorporate it into existing compliance systems via an application programming interface (API). Current users comprise international buyers, suppliers, and investors. Typical use cases include prioritizing entities for enhanced due diligence such as worker centric forced labor investigations, pre-contract due diligence, assessing and benchmarking ‘Employer Pays’ implementation and other practices within supply chains or portfolios, and continuous monitoring.

Users also get access to anonymized, aggregate data at the country, sector, tier, and migration corridor level that contributes to their understanding of inherent forced labor risk and enables them to benchmark the risk and performance of entities in their supply chain or portfolio.

Author: For more information, contact Declan Croucher at

Photo credit: Group of workers in the factory. Shutterstock/Amorn Suriyan

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