As I’ve highlighted before, I’m fortunate to serve as a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, which meets twice a year.

I was less fortunate that the Midyear Meeting this year was in Chicago, which was even colder and snowier than Connecticut.

At Monday’s House meeting, there were several resolutions passed. The most interesting for employers, was the clunky-named “Model Principles of the ABA Model Business and Supplier Policies on Labor Trafficking & Child Labor”.

In doing so, the ABA urged business to adopt and implement their own business and supplier policies that are consistent with the principles.

Among the model principles:

Principle 1—The Business will Prohibit Labor Trafficking and Child Labor in its Operations.

Principle 2—The Business will Conduct a Risk Assessment of the Risk of Labor Trafficking and Child Labor and Continually Monitor Implementation of this Policy.

Principle 3—The Business should: (i) Train Relevant Employees, (ii) Engage in Continuous Improvement, and (iii) Maintain Effective Communications Mechanisms with its Suppliers. 

Principle 4—The Business will Devise a Remediation Policy and Plan that Addresses Remediation for Labor Trafficking or Child Labor in its Operations.

Now, I am under no illusion that this topic may seem dated to some.  But it actually is designed to tackle a current and significant issue.

Indeed, recent statistics show that there are nearly 21 million men, women & children who are subject to forced labor world-wide.  And child labor stands at nearly 168 million.  With globalization on the rise, these model principles can be used for businesses to help curb the use of children in making products, for example.

Businesses that adopt a form of these policies may be able to make sure that their supply chain is free from the use of child labor through monitoring, due diligence and verification.  Notably, the policies are not designed to be used as a basis for criminal or civil liability. Rather, these best practices are designed to make it easier for companies that want to highlight this issue, to implement practices that are consistent with that desire.

If this issue touches your company, you may want to take a look at this and see if it is of use to you.  Kudos to the ABA’s Business Law Section for taking the lead on this important topic.