Modern slavery risks will increase if states don’t prepare supply chain workers to adapt to competition from robot manufacturing, according to Verisk Maplecroft, the global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company.
In a report, Human Rights Outlook 2018, it warns that low-skilled workers in emerging economy supply chains “will find themselves jobless and competing for a diminishing supply of decent work, unless their countries start now to reskill and prepare workers to adapt to their gradual replacement by more efficient machines.
Verisk Maplecroft highlights figures from the UN’s International Labour Organisation estimating that over the next two decades 56 per cent of workers in the manufacturing hubs of Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam will lose their jobs due to automation. As a result, the risk of slavery and trafficking appearing in supply chains will spiral, says the report.
“The dark side of automation could therefore mean fewer alternatives to exploitative work and a spiral into modern slavery that renders the SDG [sustainable develop goals] targets irrelevant.”
The report said modern slavery laws are just one part of an increasingly diverse compliance landscape that is pushing global businesses to conduct human rights due diligence. “We argue that the next big challenge for business is working out what in practice ‘reasonable due diligence’ means and how you know what is appropriate for your business.”