This past April, Erin Klett, Senior Director of Research and Policy at Verité, addressed Modern Slavery in Supply Chains at an event organized by Duke University Center for International and Global Studies. Klett was invited to campus and introduced by Piotr Plewa, visiting research scholar at the center.

The following article is by Vivian Wang for Duke University’s Duke Today:

While modern day slavery is most prevalent in Africa and Asia, it affects all parts of the world, Klett said during a talk last week at Duke. One of the reasons for the perpetuation of slavery into modern times is that it is a very profitable business, estimated to generate as much as $150 billion a year, she said.

Klett elaborated on the design and implementation of research, tools, and programs Verité implements and how it aims to serve governments, companies, international organizations and civil society groups across a variety of sectors and regions.

Klett explained that forced labor, human trafficking and forced marriage all fall under the umbrella of modern slavery, which has several defining components: involuntariness, penalty, and deception.


She explained how the use of key frameworks and measured indicators of forced labor in her work at Verité allows them to analyze and identify how modern slavery looks in different cultural, geographical and social contexts. [For examples of how Verité has used the indicators approach to forced labor, see Risk Analysis of Labor Violations Among Farmworkers in the Guatemalan Sugar Sector, Forced Labor in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia, and Assessment of Forced Labor Risk in the Cocoa Sector in Côte D’Ivoire.]

After sharing findings from research and policy advocacy, Klett included examples of concrete steps taken by companies to remedy and prevent these forms of exploitation. These include creating stronger policies, screening and evaluations, practicing proper compliance management and remedying violations.

Photo: Duke Today

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