The global, complex and multi-tiered nature of modern supply chains has increased the risk for multinational manufacturers and retailers that workers involved in the production and supply of their goods are employed illegally. Whilst most multinationals understand that out-sourcing of production does not give them the moral right to out-source responsibility for the conditions in which their suppliers’ workers are employed, the lack of visibility of lower tier suppliers has made over-sight of employee conditions all the more difficult.
However, legislation in the past few years in a number of jurisdictions, has sought to compel supply chain ‘owners’ to undertake audits of their supplier base in order to ensure that their operations are free of what has been termed ‘modern slavery’. This is not the only risk of this
type which supply chains face. Instability in many parts of the world has caused widespread illegal migration as people seek better lives in the West. Road, rail, sea and even air carriers have been targeted by migrants and the organized criminal gangs which are often involved in
their trafficking.