THE BLOG
11/18/2013 04:24 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Supply Chain Compliance and Legal Education

I believe that most businesses are ethical and want to do good. One way companies can practice corporate social responsibility is to comply with relevant laws that ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor. However, with the recent onslaught of new regulations, it is difficult to stay up to speed with legal requirements. Fortunately, there are a handful of organizations educating companies and their in-house legal departments.

One of my supporters, The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association ("NAPABA") recently held its 25th year annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Convention attendees included attorneys from companies ranging in size from small privately-held businesses to Fortune 100 corporations as well as law firm lawyers from throughout the United States and even overseas.

I shared my story with the NAPABA last November. Now, a year later, amongst NAPABA's legal education panels in Kansas City was one entitled, "Corporate Social Responsibility and Supply Chain Compliance Requirements." Such education is crucial as only a few years ago, several Uzbekistan nationals pled guilty to federal charges in Kansas City -- America's heartland -- as a result of a human trafficking enterprise in which hundreds of illegal aliens were employed at hotels and other businesses.

Paul Hirose from the Perkins Coie law firm moderated the supply chain compliance presentation which featured attorneys from The Coca-Cola Company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Hallmark Cards, Incorporated. I met Paul at last year's NAPABA Convention; he is a former CPA whose legal practice focuses on supply chain issues. The presentation explained how companies can comply with such laws and regulations such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the Executive Order Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts, the Conflict Minerals provision in the Dodd-Frank Act, and the Clean Diamond Trade Act.

Raising awareness of human trafficking amongst the consuming public is vital to the fight against modern day slavery. So is educating the corporate world. As alluded to above, I believe companies do not want forced labor touching their products or involved in their services. The foresight shown by organizations like NAPABA -- to inform corporations on how to ensure their supply chains are free of human trafficking and how to practice corporate social responsibility -- is essential. For more info on how The Tronie Foundation can help companies combat trafficking, please contact us at http://www.troniefoundation.org/get-approved.