There are still many challenges, but a lot has changed already -- just in the last 10 years child labor has become almost unheard of on many of the bigger export farms, and more groups are now complying with Mexican labor laws. But of course, more can be done.
Trafficking in persons clearly involves human rights concerns, based on the coercion, threats, or violence victims and survivors face. But the ways we as a community respond to human trafficking also involve very important human rights issues.
Amidst what seems like 1,000 panel discussions in 1,000 Washington, DC conference rooms every month, a truly revolutionary idea for unlocking business growth emerged from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation just before Thanksgiving.
Most people think a Great Idea -- a breakthrough discovery, a killer app -- will make them wealthy beyond their dreams. But successful entrepreneurs know that Great Ideas are a dime a dozen. True success lies in the execution.
Where ever you work: be it in an office, a factory, in sales, or even a library, we all were the new person at some point in our career. Weathering out a tough situation is never a comfortable proposition, but it is part of the human condition.
What do factory workers want? They sew our clothes and assemble our mobile phones -- things we use every day -- but they remain a mystery to us. Most are working thousands of miles away behind secure company gates.
With so many families now relying on the earning power of women, why not take that supply chain approach a step further to require our government contractors to pay men and women equally? The relative success of the Swiss model speaks for itself.
Imagine yourself working in a factory. One day you smell smoke. What do you do? Ignore it? Panic? Or follow the fire drill procedure you learned at a training last week? What you choose could save your life.
Of course, the international community -- companies included -- should be fighting for equal rights for all. But before urging companies to turn their attention outwards and lobby host governments, we should seek evidence that they are addressing the risks to human rights in their own operations.
It's important to start the year thinking about ways to address and prevent trafficking in persons, given that, throughout the world, so many workers and young people experience this assault on their dignity and autonomy.
Supply chains for products are hard to keep track of, and if companies aren't investing time, money, and energy in ensuring a clean supply chain, our consumerism continues to support labor exploitation.
From the federal government's data-driven policing efforts to private sector initiatives to secure the supply chain, data has the potential to emerge as a powerful new tool in the fight against counterfeit goods.
Am I wrong to be disgusted over the blatant irresponsibility of some of the largest retailers and apparel brands in the world as well as the governments, and factory owners in the countries sought for the lowest possible manufacturing costs?