For years, Carolyn Kitto has trekked through the Himalayan foothills in northern India to assess the working conditions of pickers who gather tea leaves for global brands.
At times, that’s meant wading knee-deep in raw sewage to talk to workers in their make-shift cabins looking for signs of modern slavery — forced or child labor, indentured staff or illegal fees paid to recruiters.
“It’s not if they’ve got slavery, it’s when they find it,” said Kitto, the Sydney-based director of Be Slavery Free, a non-profit organisation. “It’s that pervasive, almost every business has a risk of slavery in their supply chains.”
A ground-breaking program launched in Australia is making it easier for activists like Kitto — along with governments and investors — to track the harsh, slave-like conditions that afflict some 40 million people around the world, the vast majority of them in Asia.
This article was originally posted on bloomberg.com