Human trafficking

This page presents all relevant good practice case studies that showcase how business have addressed the Human trafficking dilemma. Case studies have been developed in close collaboration with a range of multi-national companies and relevant government, inter-governmental and civil society stakeholders. We also draw on public domain sources, including the UN Global Compact's own published Communications on Progress through which signatories are required to report on their performance against the Ten Principles.

The case studies explore the specific dilemmas and challenges faced by each organisation, good practice actions they have taken to resolve them and the results of such action. We reference challenges as well as achievements and invite you to submit commentary and suggestions through the Forum.

IN-DEPTH (Print seperately) Gap Inc: Allegations of child trafficking within the supply chain - India

IN-DEPTH (Print seperately) International Cocoa Initiative: Combating child labour while protecting livelihoods - Ivory Coast, Ghana

IN-DEPTH (Print seperately) Manpower Inc: Mobilising business against human trafficking - Global

UN.GIFT: Facilitating cooperation and coordination - Global

UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was launched in 2007 by UNODC with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The initiative, which is managed in cooperation with other UN bodies, as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), aims to promote the fight on human trafficking on the basis of international agreements reached at the UN. It does so by encouraging and facilitating cooperation and coordination, between UN agencies, international organisations and other stakeholders – including businesses. Corporate partners currently include GAP, Twidox, Manpower, Microsoft and Hilton Vienna.

Stop the Traffik: Global movement to combat trafficking, with 1,000 members - Global

Stop the Traffik (STF) is an international movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to stop trafficking, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. It works with UNODC to produce resources for, and engage with, grassroots communities around the world, and to provide research about trafficking in goods and product supply chains. STF work includes awareness raising campaigns focused on young people, the Cote d’Ivoire chocolate sector, host communities, business travellers, the 2012 London Olympics, and global policy. Corporate members include British American Tobacco, Centrica and Stagecoach.

Polaris Project: Anti-trafficking operations, including direct outreach - US and Japan

Founded in 2002, the Polaris Project is one of the largest anti-trafficking organisations in the US and Japan, running programmes at international, national and local levels. Actions include direct outreach and victim identification, the provision of housing and social services to victims, operation of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (which serves as the central national hotline on human trafficking), advocacy for stronger anti-trafficking legislation, and community engagement. Corporate supporters include Body Shop, Boeing, Google, LexisNexis and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

ASSET: Addressing the causes of slavery and trafficking - Global

Founded by Julia Ormond, a UNODC goodwill ambassador against slavery and human trafficking, (Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking) ASSET works to address the causes of slavery and trafficking. By focusing on supply chains, ASSET helps companies, NGOs, and governments work together to develop and implement best practices for removing the economic impetus behind the problem.

Air France: Broadcasting film to passengers against sexual exploitation of children - Global

In May 2009 Air France broadcasted a new film against the sexual exploitation of children at its ticket offices, on board its long-haul flights and on Air France coaches. The film, which was developed at the request of Air France, is part of an End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) France campaign addressing not only child sex tourism, but also child pornography and prostitution. Air France has been a partner of ECPAT for 15 years.

End Human Trafficking Now!: Building partnerships with business - Global

End Human Trafficking Now! is an initiative that aims to build partnerships with the business community to eliminate human trafficking worldwide. The initiative helps companies implement programmes to raise awareness of the issue, and to reduce human trafficking. Projects include a global Victims Assistance Database, a confidential helpline and a CD training tool for companies. It is also behind the Athens Ethical Principles, which set out a number of policies for companies to follow in order to eradicate human trafficking. Current members include Abercrombie & Kent, Black Earth Farming Limited, Celtel International, CDI Corp., Manpower, PTT plc and Xenel Industries Limited.

Manpower Inc.: Providing leadership in combating trafficking - Global

Manpower Inc. was the first company to sign the Athens Ethical Principles, which declares a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for working with any entity, which benefits in any way, from human trafficking. Manpower Inc. has also engaged in the End Human Trafficking Now! initiative. Its work to encourage other companies to support the Athens Ethical Principles has resulted in over 12,000 organisations signing up, including a number of global unions. In addition, Manpower Inc. and Orascom Telecom co-sponsored and assisted in a global media initiative to counter human trafficking raise awareness among business leaders.

Body Shop: Raising awareness and generating funds for combating trafficking - UK

The Body Shop and End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), a global network of organisations and individuals launched the STOP Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People Campaign in 2009. The campaign aims to raise awareness, generate funding for vulnerable children and young people, and encourage decision-makers to effect change. It does so through dedicated anti-trafficking pages on the Body Shop website, leaflets, email messaging, an in-depth report and donations related to a specific product line.

Kuoni: Organising workshops on child protection in tourism - India

In May 2009 travel operator Kuoni, in collaboration with Equations of India, organised workshops in Goa and Kerala on child protection in the tourism industry. A total of 145 participants from the tourism, NGO and government sectors exchanged knowledge on the fight against the sexual abuse of children, including prevention measures and cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

Microsoft: Supporting activities to combat trafficking and rehabilitate victims - Asia Pacific

Microsoft supports a number of independent initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region and works through its own Microsoft Unlimited Potential (UP) community investment initiative, to help prevent trafficking. The UP programme aims to reduce poverty in areas where trafficking is concentrated (thereby reducing trafficking levels) and to rehabilitate trafficking victims. It does so by teaching people how they can benefit from information and communication technology information and skills. Through UP, locally experienced NGOs are establishing 135 community technology centres, which focus on local expertise and enterprise.

LexisNexis: Partnership to develop database of social service providers for hotline - US

In 2008 online database service LexisNexis worked in partnership with the US National Human Trafficking Resource Center to develop a national database of social service providers for the Center’s hotline. It also worked with a leading anti-trafficking NGO in South East Asia to teach technical skills to the shelter’s staff. Other initiatives include the creation of an online resource center for lawyers who work with trafficking victims and collaboration with the American Bar Association to support a training institute on civil remedies for trafficking victims.

Accor: Training staff on ECPAT Code of Conduct - Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, French Guyana, Mexico, Senegal

Hotel operator Accor has worked with ECPAT since 2001 and has signed the ECPAT Code of Conduct. Staff training sessions have been carried out in Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, French Guyana, Mexico and Senegal – with a total of 5,000 employees trained so far.

Marriott International: Working with NGOs to combat child sex tourism - Global

Marriott has a human rights policy that directly addresses the sexual exploitation of children. It works with NGOs to combat child sex tourism at both a local and global level, and to train its staff in the identification of potential abuses. Its pre-arrival messages, which are sent to more than 20 million people, includes a brochure on child sex tourism developed by the UN World Tourism Organisation.

Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP: Offering pro-bono services to trafficking victims - US

International corporate law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe offers pro bono services to help victims of trafficking obtain immigration status through the US’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It represents victims in civil claims at state and federal level, and supports research into the strengths and weaknesses of anti-trafficking laws and regulations.

UN.GIFT: Partnering to train young people in vulnerable categories - India

UN.GIFT has promoted a number of anti-trafficking initiatives with its partners in India. These include an initiative with the Apparel and Export Promotion Council (APEC) to train young people vulnerable to trafficking, as well as the establishment of the Think Tank on Public Private Partnerships to Combat Human Trafficking in India by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. UN.GIFT has also facilitated a strategic partnership with the Pacific Asia Tourism Association in India to adopt a Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable tourism in the country, and has promoted inclusion of anti-trafficking activities into the 100 Caring Business and Business Leaders initiative.

Microsoft: Technical assistance in support of the fights against human trafficking – Global

Microsoft developed and sponsored an e-learning tool in partnership with End Human Trafficking Now and UN.GIFT. This includes an online training programme to help managers and employees understand human trafficking, identify related risks in their business and take appropriate action.

In addition, Microsoft has developed – at the request of the Toronto Police – the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS). This helps investigators “share, search and collaborate on investigations relating to child exploitation”. CETS works alongside existing database systems to report and track information based on fields such as nicknames, IP addresses and other relevant information. Microsoft has invested a total of US$10 million in CETS in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Italy, Romania, Spain and the UK – whilst a further 13 countries are evaluating its adoption. In total, 1,400 investigators have been trained in the use of CETS – with 800 investigators using it worldwide at the point of writing.

Carlson: Internal awareness-raising around sex trafficking in travel and tourism – Global

Global hospitality company Carlson has long been active in efforts to combat child sex trafficking, having joined with Queen Silvia of Sweden to establish the World Childhood Foundation – an organisation committed to helping vulnerable street-children – in 1999. In 2004, it signed the travel industry’s Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. In this context, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group implements a child protection training programme for all employees – including the use of a high-profile documentary on human trafficking called ‘Not My Life’ that was partially funded by the Carlson Family Foundation – to help them identify and report trafficking activities.

Boeing: Managing trafficking risks within the supply chain – Global

Boeing implements a range of measures to reduce the risk of human trafficking and slavery within its supply chain. This includes the evaluation of human trafficking and slavery risks amongst first tier suppliers, periodic site visits of a selection of suppliers by trained Boeing personnel and the reporting of relevant findings to relevant managers and/or through the Boeing Ethics Hotline.

In addition, the company includes a specific supplier contract clause relating to the ‘Code of Basic Working Conditions and Human Rights’, which requires compliance with laws relating to “basic working conditions and human rights of the jurisdictions applicable to the suppliers’ performance under the contract”. It also encourages the adoption of “concepts similar to the Boeing Code of Basic Working Conditions and Human Rights”. Importantly, the clause must be ‘flowed’ down to all sub-contractors. Boeing maintains a right to terminate relevant contracts where material violations of law relating to human rights take place.

To support these measures, employees with responsibility for supply chain management are provided with training to enhance their ability to mitigate risks such as human trafficking and slavery. Employees are further encouraged to contact their managers or use the Boeing Ethics Hotline if they have any suspicions or concerns with respect to suppliers.

Delta Air Lines et al: Participation in US govt. initiative to tackle trafficking - US

In 2013, the US government partnered with Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Allegiant Air and North American Airlines to train their employees to identify human trafficking – both in-flight and on the ground – and to notify the relevant authorities when they become aware of suspicions. The partnership is based on a computer-based training programme developed by the US Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland (DHS) Security called the Blue Lightning Initiative that is available to airlines as part of the DHS Blue Campaign. In addition to these airlines, the Transportation Department also works with US rail passenger service Amtrak - which is developing a system for training all 20,000 of its employees on identifying human trafficking.

ManpowerGroup/Verité: Ethical Framework for Cross Border Labor Recruitment - Global

In 2012, ManpowerGroup and NGO Verité released a Framework for combating human trafficking and forced labour – The Ethical Framework for Cross Border Labor Recruitment. This provides a checklist of specific 'Standards of Ethical Practice' for companies involved in the international recruitment of workers, which are intended to "protect those workers against specific patterns of vulnerability and abuse". The intention is for the standards to be supported by a system of verification that provides certification of company-compliance - whilst also providing information "for leveraging the influence of consumer groups, regulators, and other third parties." Dan Viederman, Chief Executive Officer of ethical supply chain experts Verité, notes that "The current cross-border recruitment marketplace has almost no transparency and limited ability to enforce standards. Our Framework makes it easy for ethical businesses to understand what they need to do, and easy for them to point to like-minded firms who they want to work with. The ultimate goal is for ethical behaviour to be rewarded." The Framework marks the first of three phases of collaboration between ManpowerGroup and Verité - with the second phase to focus on a pilot project in a 'real world' labour context to test the effectiveness of the Framework. In the third phase, both organisations plan to disseminate the results and issue recommendations for the wider application of the Framework.

Google: US$3m donation to enhance the analysis of trafficking data - Global

In 2013, Google announced it would provide a grant of US$3 million (via the Google Giving Global Impact Award programme) to anti-trafficking groups Polaris Project, Liberty Asia and La Strada International. The grant - along with technical inputfrom Google and its partners - will support the development of a data-sharing platform to establish global human trafficking patterns and to help inform the development of more effective measures to address the issue. The three beneficiary groups, which operate trafficking hotlines in Europe, North America and South East Asia, will share data relating to the origin of their calls, the ages and origins of victims, and the types of activities trafficking victims have been forced into. Google and its partners then intend to analyse the resulting data to identify relevant trends and insights that they can offer to the law enforcement authorities - as well as policy makers.

gBCAT: Global business coalition to tackle human trafficking - Global

In 2012, nine global companies came together to form the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gBCAT) - with a particular focus on managing the issue within company supply chains.  Key areas of focus will include:

  • Training: Including employee, supplier and sub-contractor training programmes
  • Supply chain management: Including the identification/prevention of forced labour in supply chains and operations
  • Awareness around sex trafficking: Including awareness-raising of company policies aimed at addressing sex trafficking - particularly in the travel and tourism sector
  • Communication and outreach: Including thought-leadership and the sharing of best practice

The founding members include:

  • ManpowerGroup
  • NXP
  • ExxonMobil
  • The Coca Cola Company
  • Carlson
  • Delta Air Lines
  • LexisNexis
  • Microsoft
  • Travelport

Members of gBCAT intend to continue their collaboration with governments, NGOs and other stakeholder to identify the most effective solutions to fight modern slavery.

Co-operative Food, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose: Participation in the "Stronger Together" initiative to address human trafficking in food and agriculture - United Kingdom

Food and agriculture companies in the UK have united with the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) and Migrant Help NGO, to combat human trafficking, forced labour and slavery-like working conditions that affect vulnerable groups, such as migrants. The initiative, called ‘Stronger Together’, was launched in October 2013 and aims to provide employers in the UK’s food, retail and agricultural sectors with the knowledge and resources to identify and mitigate exploitative practices in the workplace, including human trafficking. The initiative was funded by five British supermarkets, such as Co-operative Food, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. The website of the Stronger Together initiative offers information ‘toolkits’ and guidance for employers and employees, as well as posters and leaflets in multiple languages. In addition, the Stronger Together initiative will develop and conduct a series of interactive workshops on exploitative labour practices throughout the UK. Involving more than 1,000 farms and food producers, the workshops are expected to reach approximately 100,000 employees.


American Bar Association: Channelling legal expertise to combat human trafficking – US

In 2013, the American Bar Association released a video in response to US President Barack Obama’s 2012 call to end human trafficking. The video – entitled Voices for Victims: Lawyers against Human Trafficking – aims to provide guidance on how attorneys can take effective action to protect trafficking victims and prosecute offenders. In this respect, the initiative supports the implementation and enforcement of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). A number of prominent professionals working to combat trafficking feature in the video, providing advice and solutions for attorneys wishing to join the fight. The video is accompanied by a toolkit, which debunks common myths, provides advice on how to organise awareness-raising events and lists useful definitions and resources.


International Tourism Partnership: Guidance for hoteliers seeking to address trafficking – Global

The International Tourism Partnership – a corporate responsibility initiative involving a range of leading international hotel companies such as Marriott, Carlson, IHG and Hilton – has published two resources to help those in the hotel industry tackle human trafficking. The first is the ‘Know How Guide’ on human trafficking. In particular, the Guide is aimed at helping hoteliers understand “what it is, how it may affect them and what actions they can take to reduce the risk of trafficking in their business”. The second is the ‘Guidelines for Checking Recruitment Agencies’ – aimed at helping hotels perform due diligence on their labour suppliers to reduce the trafficking risks and to “ensure better working conditions for agency staff”. The Guidelines were developed with the support of Verite, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the Institute for Human Rights and Business. 

International Tourism Partnership

Delta Air lines: initiatives to encourage staff and customers to fight human trafficking – Global

Delta Airlines has introduced several initiatives to help employees identify potential traffickers and trafficking victims in airports and on flights. Since 2013, Delta Airlines’ employees have taken Blue Lightning computer-based training to help them stay alert to human trafficking. The training program is part of the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI), an initiative led by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Transportation, to educate flight crews and airline staff on the indicators of human trafficking. In 2015, Delta introduced training with Out of Darkness – the anti-trafficking ministry of Atlanta Dream Center - to enable employees to actively help and assist human trafficking victims. Furthermore, in 2016, Delta launched a cross-divisional human trafficking advisory council to review how the company can develop a plan to expand its role in the fight against trafficking. The company is now encouraging its staff and customers to participate in its new initiative called “#GetOnBoard” aiming at fighting human trafficking and donating miles to return victims to their families.

The Bali Process: Engaging the private sector to end people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime – Global

Established in 2002, the Bali Process has acted as a forum for policy dialogue, information sharing and collaboration on people smuggling, trafficking in persons and transnational crime. Members include various international organisations such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as well as government representatives and international agencies. In its 6th Ministerial Conference in March 2016, delegates recognised the need to engage the private sector and have since launched the Bali Process Government and Business Forum to eradicate human trafficking. Through this new initiative, CEOs and business leaders will advise governments on how to combat trafficking, as well as share their experiences and best practices. The Forum is currently chaired by Eddy Sariaatmadja, founder of Emtek, and Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group and founder of the Walk Free Foundation.

The Co-op: Brighter futures programme provides opportunities for survivors of modern slavery

In March 2017, the Co-op group announced a new scheme to help reintegrate survivors of modern slavery back into their communities. Working closely with the City Hearts charity, the Co-op will provide 30 survivors of modern slavery paid work experience in its food business, and if suitable, a guaranteed, permanent job. The initiative, known as the Bright Futures programme, aims to provide survivors with the dignity of work in order to reduce the risk of them re-entering modern slavery. The Co-Op has also committed to highlight the issue of modern slavery with its four million members, and several of its suppliers, including Greencore and Tulip, have agreed to support the initiative and provide employment to survivors.