In the mid-1990s, NGO activists began shining a spotlight on the concentrated use of slave child labor in Pakistan to produce soccer balls for the global market. The attention prompted the industry to make deep changes in its supply chain to eliminate the problem. Today, the campaign is viewed as a model for improving labor standards, with the gains a result of government, NGO, and donor involvement.
And yet human trafficking, modern slavery, and child labor remain pressing concerns in many industries’ global supply chains. At SSIR’s recent Frontiers of Social Innovation conference, Siddharth Kara, who directs the program on human trafficking and modern slavery at the Harvard Kennedy School, spoke with Nina Smith of Goodweave International, Leslie Johnston of C&A Foundation, which works to transform the fashion industry, and Bama Athreya of USAID, about how their organizations and sectors are addressing these issues.