Ariba and Made In A Free World have joined forces to combat human trafficking.

Slavery was abolished centuries ago. Yet human trafficking continues around the world. There are an estimated 20 to 30 million forced laborers in global supply chains today – from conflict minerals in the Congo, to fishing in Thailand, to migrant workers in the United States and North America. Legislation stretching from the US, the UK, and beyond means that businesses have to provide greater transparency into their supply chains and validate that their suppliers’ suppliers are providing fair wages and fair labor practices.

“Slave and child labor is rampant in supply chains around the world. But it doesn’t have to be,” says Justin Dillion, Founder and CEO of Made In A Free World, a network of individuals, groups, and businesses, that are working together to disrupt slavery and combat human trafficking. “We live in a digitally connected and data-driven economy. We have the tools and information needed to uncover slavery and end it.”

Working together with Ariba, an SAP company, Dillion and his team at Made in a Free World are hoping to help companies to uncover the potential for slavery in their supply chains and take steps to mitigate it.

“Companies have the power to resolve one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” says Chris Haydon, senior vice president of Product Management at Ariba. In combining the Ariba Network with Made In A Free World’s FRDM database (FRDM stands for Forced Labor Risk Determination & Mitigation), companies can gain insights from their suppliers – and from the suppliers’ suppliers.

SAP News talks to Haydon about this collaboration.

Q: Chris, how did the team work with “Made in a Free World” come about?

A: We were first introduced to Made in a Free World – MIAFW for short – by an Ariba sales executive who heard founder and CEO Justin Dillon speak at an event. He immediately felt that we could help make a difference. By bringing the very real issue of human trafficking in the supply chain to the attention of the companies around the world who use Ariba to manage their supplier relationships and combining our network with the MIAFW database, we can put an end to what really is the equivalent of modern slavery.

Q: What is the concrete goal that you want to achieve through this cooperation?

A: We believe that the only way to eradicate modern slavery is through the power of free markets. Collectively, the Global 2000 spend $12 trillion on goods and services annually. These companies – more than 75 percent of which are connected to the Ariba Network – have the buying power to ensure that suppliers provide transparency and fair labor practices across their sub-tier supply chains and resolve one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. This is exactly what we hope to inspire and them to do.

Q: Are there internationally accepted certificates for good suppliers, that Ariba and Made in a Free World use as guidance?

Our aim is to deliver tools that help buyers uncover the potential risk of slavery in their supply chains using public sources of information. For instance, the MIAFW FRDM database maps the bill of materials of countless number of products and services right down to their raw materials and labor inputs. Companies can evaluate their spending and supply chain against this database and get a view into areas where forced labor might exist.

Through the Ariba Network, they can be alerted to potential future risks by triangulating a myriad of inputs, such as supplier performance ratings, payment history, etc. They can also identify alternative sources of supply with supply chain transparency and fair labor practices. This helps to mitigate these risks as certified on the Ariba Network and access category-specific playbooks that provide a framework for detecting forced labor and outline actions to remediate it.

Q: Are SAP customers also saved in the FDRM database? And what kind of rules apply for Ariba and SAP suppliers?

We are arming them with tools to find and work with socially responsible suppliers. The MIAFW FRDM database is managed and monitored by MIAFW. SAP customers can learn more about and register to be included in this database by visiting the following sites: ari.ba/madeinafreeworld or www.madeinafreeworld.com.

Photo via Made in a Free World video.