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Human rights abuse and forced labor are still rampant in workplaces around the world

Technology has continually evolved and improved to help benefit our lives. Right now, modern tech is emerging to help address major societal concerns that are plaguing the food industry. Recently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has announced the very first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool. This tool is a database that can help buyers identify the possibility of child labor, human trafficking, and slave labor in the supply chain used for their seafood purchase. The database was designed for over two years and helps buyers by assigning risk ratings to certain fisheries.

For example if a certain fishery is tagged with a critical risk rating, then this means that there is credible evidence that the fishery uses child or forced labor in catching its seafood. Skipjack or yellow tuna that was caught by a Taiwanese fleet will get a critical rating while a Patagonian toothfish caught by a fleet in Chile will be tagged as low risk as this place has very good regulations and protection programs. The database was made in partnership with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Liberty Asia.

Slavery in Other Industries

A recent report has recently confirmed that human rights abuse and forced labor are still in practice in Thailand’s fishing industry, and database was created in the hopes to stop this problem.

It isn’t just the fishing industry that has this predicament as more than half of the labor trafficking problem in the world is connected with the construction and mining industries.  A recent slave auction was caught on camera in Libya and has gone viral, further sparking the issue into life.  

Another recent report, this time from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, has shown that the main driving force behind Brazil’s sudden economic and agricultural growth was an increase in slavery and forced labor in the country—especially in their meat industry. In fact, according to the Global Slavery Index in 2016, around 161,100 Brazilians are considered as modern slaves.

Fortunately, technology that is similar to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s program is also being utilized for use in identifying risk factors in the construction industry and agricultural industry. By utilizing software that can pull from data analytics, it is possible to create a transparency registry to help disrupt the labor trafficking supply chain.

Other Emerging Technologies Against Slave Labor

There are also other rapidly evolving technologies that can help combat slavery by pinpointing various points in the human trafficking procedure.

  • Thorn: Digital Defenders has developed its Spotlight Tool last 2014 and collects aggregate data from online commercial sex advertisements. This tool is already available for use by law enforcement, and has already shown a 43% decrease in their processing time to conduct an investigation.
  • PhotoDNA is a program by Microsoft that helps identify the images of children who are sexually exploited online. It is a cloud service that is free for qualified organizations.
  • Polaris’ The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is a toll-free hotline that can easily be accessed via email or through an online form and is active 24/7.
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates a CyberTipline that allows members of the community to report suspected child exploitation. Ever since its creation in 1998, it has received more than 4.3 million reports.

Slave labor as well as human trafficking should no longer be practiced anywhere in the world. It’s a shame that even with the best advancements in technology, there are still some people who would treat others unfairly. The slave labor tracking tool may be a small step to solve such a wide-scale problem, but it is definitely a bold move in the right direction.

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