Proposed bill would force disclosure of anti-trafficking efforts

The bill was written in collaboration with a human trafficking survivor.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Large businesses operating in Washington state will be required to disclose efforts to eliminate human trafficking in their supply chains under a proposed Senate bill.

SB 5541 will require every seller and manufacturer with worldwide sales of more than $75 million to publicly demonstrate efforts to eliminate human trafficking and forced labor from their direct supply chains. me.

“It’s really a way of telling consumers, ‘Hey, these are companies that have certified that they don’t use forced labor. And these are companies that don’t have’,” said State Senator Manka Dhingra, D-District 45, who proposed the bill.

Dhingra formulated the law after speaking with a human trafficking survivor who told her story to KING 5 earlier this year.

Rani Hong was kidnapped from her family in India when she was 7 years old and forced into slavery. She came to Olympia after working for a man who ran a cement factory.

“He is using children to make bricks and in that, he is basically abusing children, exploiting them for labor,” Hong told lawmakers Monday during the hearing. ceiling on the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. “So I’m at the bottom of the supply chain.”

But under the proposed law, companies that choose not to disclose if forced labor is used in their supply chains will not face any consequences.

“I don’t think our business community will be happy. No one likes being told they have more work to do. Many times penalties may not be necessary if companies step up and do the right thing. And if they did it themselves, we wouldn’t need it. But it’s really going to be a wait-and-see approach,” said Dhingra.

The measure would require the Department of Revenue to share lists of non-compliant sellers and manufacturers with the Attorney General and the legislature.

According to the United Nations, forced labor and human trafficking generate more than $150 billion in illicit profits annually.

At least one previous attempt to pass legislation related to forced labor and supply chains in Washington failed several years ago due to a backlash from the farming industry. Proposed bill would force disclosure of anti-trafficking efforts

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