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Europe faces slavery risks in supply chain with increased migration

Modern slavery risks have risen in nearly three quarters of the 28 member states of the European Union over the last year. The migrant crisis has increased the risk of slavery incidents appearing in company supply chains across Europe. Greece is host to significant number of migrants and remains a key destination for human trafficking. It is no longer just the traditional sourcing hotspots in emerging economies that businesses should pay attention to when risk assessing their suppliers and the commodities they source.

Turkish textile factories have been associated with high profile incidents of child labor and slavery. Asian manufacturing hubs, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand, all feature in the extreme or high risk categories. China, the top exporter of garments, is categorised ‘extreme risk’ in the index and is ranked 21st worst in the world. It has registered a slight increase in risk, driven by inadequate enforcement and reports of severe forms of modern slavery.

Bangladesh and China have recorded incidents of forced labor, servitude, trafficking, prison labor and generational debt bondage. Trying to eradicate slavery in garment exporting countries is a big challenge, given the prevalence of exploitation, but there are signs of improvement.