Blog Posts

Embracing the Power of Data: Uniting Industry and Government for Global Change

08/18/23 7 minute read

By: Rani Hong

As a survivor of child trafficking from India, my journey has taught me the profound importance of information and its potential to drive change. I firmly believe that by harnessing the power of data and working together, we have an unparalleled opportunity to combat the financial crimes that perpetuate modern-day slavery, exploit vulnerable populations, and compromise the integrity of global supply chains.

It is heartening to see technology providing new ways to increase transparency around who we are and who we conduct business with. It’s also heartening to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) embracing this technology, recognizing the crucial role that data analytics plays in mitigating global supply chain risks and enforcing import regulations.

Policy: The First Piece of the Puzzle

A few months ago, I was happy to have given my public comments to the Trade Policy, Trade, and Economic Security office under the Secretary’s Office of Strategy. In April of 2022, I was honored to have participated in a hearing with the U.S. DHS, in which I provided my public testimony to the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF). The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) has already shown great potential in holding companies and financial institutions accountable and continues to highlight the urgency of our mission, demanding swift action to eradicate forced labor from supply chains and protect human rights.

Since the UFLPA went into effect in June of 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has detained nearly $1B in shipments, more than 600 of them carrying apparel, footwear, and textiles.

>> Everything you need to know about the UFLPA <<

Technology: Facilitators of Change

The convergence of financial crime and human trafficking is undeniable. Illicit trade funds flowing through global supply chains enable and perpetuate criminal activities, including human trafficking. By leveraging public data for supply chain risk assessments, we can unravel complex networks of illicit trade, identify high-risk entities, and disrupt the financial lifelines of criminal organizations.

Together, enterprises can build a robust ecosystem that shares best practices, collaborates on innovative solutions, and promotes ethical standards in our respective fields to impact the business of forced labor. By leveraging our collective expertise, we can strengthen due diligence processes, implement comprehensive risk assessment frameworks, and ultimately, create a formidable deterrent against the trade of goods made with forced labor.

Enterprises that invest in advanced data analytics tools and technologies can enable effective monitoring and analysis of their supply chain. With public data, corporations can identify patterns, anomalies, and suspicious activity that may indicate the use of forced labor by their suppliers to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of risk mitigation efforts. This is a task that starts with each individual company’s supply chain audit, but through the power of collective action enterprises as a whole can significantly impact the forced labor trade economy, which according to the ILO currently generates over $150 billion in profit.

Identifying risks of forced labor to cut ties with the businesses suspected to use forced labor can financially impact the systems facilitating this crime. With a platform like Sayari Graph, import control teams can quickly and confidently conduct due diligence on sub-tier supplier networks with precomputed UFLPA Risk Indicators and a suite of graph analytics tools. Sayari Graph is equipped with the following to enhance forced labor investigations:

  • DHS CBP UFLPA Entity List enriched with 5K previously unidentified subsidiaries, joint ventures, branches & affiliates
  • 1.6M corporate entities geolocated in Xinjiang Province as well as 91M Chinese company
  • Semantic analysis to reveal Chinese companies involved in prison labor
  • Translation and transliteration tools

Bringing it all Together

At the heart of our collective efforts is the commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by forced labor. Behind every statistic is a human story, a life that has been shattered by exploitation and abuse. Our work holds the potential to restore dignity, protect the vulnerable, and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

With this, I urge everyone to embrace the power of data, think critically, and challenge conventional norms. Let us strive to create an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, encourages collaboration, and drives transformative change. Together, we can shape a world where financial systems and multinational corporations serve as enablers of progress rather than vehicles or victims of criminal activity.

About Rani Hong

Rani Hong is an entrepreneur and a leading voice in the fight against modern slavery. She is a survivor of child trafficking, a former special advisor to the United Nations, and the founder of Freedom Seal Global, a social enterprise startup company. Rani has been at the forefront of an international effort to eradicate the use of slave labor for more than 25 years. She will be highlighting the risks associated with trafficking in forced labor and exploring innovative solutions to help mitigate these risks.

Rani’s work has earned her audiences with the world’s most influential leaders. She has addressed the UN General Assembly multiple times and routinely meets individually with global heads of state. Corporate giants like Google and Walmart have invited Rani to speak about how they too can combat issues of human trafficking. And Rani’s unique perspective and expertise are highly sought after by media outlets as she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, BBC, and Euro News among others.

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