The Business Case for Lawyers to Advocate for Corporate Supply Chains Free of Labor Trafficking and Child Labor

The Business Case for Lawyers to Advocate for Corporate Supply Chains Free of Labor Trafficking and Child Labor

68 Am. U. L. Rev. 1555 (2019).

* CEO and Co-Founder, Center for Justice, Rights & Dignity; Retired General Motors North America Vice President and General Counsel.  He attributes his success to the supportive family members, colleagues and friends that Jesus Christ has brought into his life including those mentioned below.

** Senior Director, Ethics and Compliance, Cummins Inc, She has direct accountability for the company’s corruption prevention, third party compliance program, anti-money laundering and anti-slavery programs and implementation of compliance program globally, including developing global compliance strategy.

*** Partner and Chair of the International Trade and Supply Chain practice, Quarles & Brady, LLP. He has a great depth of experience in supply chain matters and compliance program creation, improvement and related training, counseling and assessment.

**** A former associate at Green and Spiegel LLC., advises companies on immigration and labor compliance.  She also writes and speaks on forced labor in the supply chain and human trafficking and will be joining Morais Law.

***** Co-Founder and Partner of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn LLP, is Vice-Chair of the UCC Committee’s Working Group to Draft Human Rights Protections in International Supply Contracts, and the CSR Subcommittee Implementing the ABA Model Principles on Labor Trafficking and Child Labor.

The Authors jointly thank their colleagues on the aforementioned UCC Working Group and CSR Subcommittee, the following contributors to this article:  Elise Groulx Diggs, Alisia Jones, Erin Preston-Johnson Bevel, Reginald Turner, Stephanie Romeo, Nelson Miller, Margaret Cassidy, Alan Gutterman, and the editorial staff of the American University Law Review of the American University Washington College of Law.

This Article considers the legal and ethical obligations that should propel lawyers to advocate for a corporate supply chain free of labor trafficking and child labor—both of which this piece will expose as an extension of the workforce of many corporations.  By embracing the business case supported in the Carrol Corporate Social Responsibility Model, this Article continues to champion the Corporate Social Responsibility Model’s economic groundings.  Why lawyers?  Because lawyers are the guardians of the rule of law, and both human trafficking and child labor are gaps in the rule of law that taint a client’s supply chain and its goods.  Despite many excellent laws in this area, the lack of enforcement contributes to this gap in the rule of law.  As such, this Article illustrates why lawyers need to be on the vanguard of eradicating human trafficking and child labor in supply chains.  It does so by describing, as noted by Professor David Snyder in The New Social Contracts for International Supply Chains, a set of Model Clauses designed to incorporate human rights protections in supply contracts developed by the ABA Business Law Section Working Group to Draft Human Rights Protections in International Supply Contracts.  This Article also discusses why other ethical business case rationales such as the rule of law, moral, and legal ethics considerations likewise support the legal profession taking the lead on eradicating labor trafficking and child labor. Finally, the issue of diversity is advanced as a new way to think about solutions to this problem.