It is the time of year that Mercy Investment Services along with our partners plan for our shareholder season. Many of the same hotel chains, trucking companies and airlines are being approached as in previous years. The one new twist this year is that we have seen mergers and acquisitions of these companies and trying to track down what happens to the work on human trafficking is not always easy.
As we have looked at labor trafficking, there are some new actions that might be of interest to you:
Trafficking in Persons Report: In early July the US Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons report, which classifies each of the world’s countries on their efforts to end human trafficking. Several saw improved rankings while others, namely Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, were downgraded to Tier 3 status. Shareholders including Mercy Investment Services advocated for the Tier 3 ranking for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan due to their use of forced labor to produce cotton. Mercy Investment Services has continually advocated for the elimination of forced labor in supply chains, as part of our commitment to human rights. Read more about why Mercy Investment Services pushed for the lower ranking for these countries
Conflict Minerals: There is a new resource to help companies of importance of moving towards conflict free minerals. Mercy Investment Services has actively encouraged companies to implement responsible sourcing practices for minerals such as gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum (commonly found in electronics such as cell phones). The Responsible Sourcing Network recently compiled information such as why conflict mineral disclosures are important into a convenient infographic that emphasizes the importance of companies having conflict-free supply chains.
Trafficking App: While Mercy Investment Services has actively been working to end human trafficking around the globe, now, anyone with a smartphone can join in the fight. Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms for online advertisements. Law enforcement can use these photos to find and prosecute the traffickers – but only if they can determine where the photos were taken. That’s where travelers using the TraffickCam app can make a difference. The app allows travelers to take and upload four photos of their hotel room, and associate those pictures with the hotel at which they stay, confirmed by the phone’s GPS. Photos are uploaded into a database of hotel room images that law enforcement can search, matching images in the database to those in the online advertisements. The database helps narrow the rescue time for victims and increase the possibility of conviction for the perpetrator. Since the app’s launch this summer, more than 85,000 users have downloaded the app and uploaded 1,605,906 photos into the database. Download it to your phone from Apple’s App Store or through Google Play. Find out more online at: www.exchangeinitiative.com/
Messages to: Pat Zerega
Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy MIS