January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It’s probably fair to say most people had no idea about, much less observed, a month dedicated to eradicating one of the world’s most shocking crimes.
What is human trafficking?
Source: International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation, “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labor and Forced Marriage” (2017)
What can investors do about human trafficking?
Investors can help fight human trafficking by considering how they vote on or engage with the companies in their portfolio. For US companies, voting opportunities typically occur in the form of shareholder proposals. In 2018, for example, a proposal at Motorola requested that the company ensure its supply chain was free of forced labor, and a proposal at Monster asked the beverage maker to reexamine the risk of modern-day slavery in its sugarcane supply chain.
The bottom line
While human trafficking isn’t something investors can solve completely on their own, they can play an important role by encouraging the companies they invest in to do better—and holding them to account when they don’t.