Support for H. R. 3226 - Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act of 2015

RESOLUTION NO. 4

SUPPORT FOR H. R. 3226 - BUSINESS SUPLPY CHAIN TRANSPARENCY ON TRAFFICING AND SLAVERY ACT OF 2015

Resolved, That the 167th Convention of the Diocese of California commends the 73rd General Convention’s adoption of the resolution entitled Recognize Problem of and Support Efforts to Stop Trafficking of Women, Girls, and Boys; and

Resolved, That the Convention supports and encourages our members to work for the passage of House Resolution 3226, Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act of 2015.

Explanation: At the 73rd General Convention, Resolution No. 2000-A057, Recognize Problem of and Support Efforts to Stop Trafficking of Women, Girls, and Boys, establishes a policy where the Church will: bring to the attention of its members the domestic and international problem of trafficking in women, girls, and boys; developing educational materials to be used by congregations and dioceses; and support non-violent efforts to stop this abuse, to protect the victims, and prosecute the perpetrators of this injustice. 

An example of an industry that has been criticized for many years for its association to child labor is the cocoa industry. Child labor exists among cocoa farmers in its supply chain, with a particular exposure in West Africa. According to a survey from last year, conducted on behalf of the US Department of Labor, more than two million children are involved in hazardous child labor at cocoa farms in West Africa.

The main industry response is large-scale productivity raising programs in cocoa growing communities, together with awareness campaigns on child labor. While such actions are positive, further scale-ups and a strengthened focus on farmer income, access to school and the roll-out of child labor monitoring and remediation systems are needed. 

Cocoa is the industry cited here, but many more examples, such as Thai shrimp farming, could be given. Moving away from pointing fingers at specific industries, HR 3226 is an all-encompassing act which, if adopted, would cover many industries on a worldwide basis. 

The official Summary of the bill details its features as follows: 

This bill expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) legislation is necessary to provide consumers information on products that are free of child labor, forced labor, slavery, and human trafficking; and (2) businesses and consumers, by means of publicly available disclosures, can avoid inadvertently promoting or sanctioning these crimes through production and purchase of raw materials, goods, and finished products that have been tainted in the supply chains.

The bill amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), within one year after enactment of this Act, to promulgate regulations requiring any covered issuer of a registered security to include in its mandatory annual report a disclosure of whether the issuer has taken any measures during the year to identify and address conditions of forced labor, slavery, human trafficking, and the worst forms of child labor within the issuer's supply chains. The term "covered issuer" means an issuer that has annual worldwide global receipts in excess of $100 million.

The regulations shall mandate that the required information be disclosed on such issuer's Internet website through a conspicuous and easily understandable link to the relevant information labeled ‘Global Supply Chain Transparency.’ 

The SEC must make available to the public in a searchable format on its website: (1) a list of covered issuers required to disclose such information, and (2) a compilation of the information disclosed.

Link to entire Bill: Complete Text to HR 3226

Submitted by: Warren J. Wong, Delegate, St. James - San Francisco (wjwstjames@gmail.com), Lay Deputy, General Convention 2015 & Member, Executive Council of TEC 

Endorsed by: Anna Marie Hoos, St. Gregory of Nyssa - San Francisco, Lay Alternate Deputy, General Convention 2015; Cecilia Zamora, Our Lady of Guadalupe - San Francisco, past senior warden, Good Samaritan - San Francisco; Sarah Lawton, Delegate, St. John the Evangelist - San Francisco, Lay Deputy, General Convention 2015; Rev. Susan Champion, Rector, Christ the Lord - Pinole

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