Human Trafficking - Insight from an Expert in the Trenches


Have you ever mapped out your entire supply chain? If so, you’ve probably noticed something interesting – the components and raw materials in your products likely come from all different parts of the globe. Of further significance, you’ve probably learned this before having to go much beyond your tier 2 suppliers. Markets are exceptionally global these days.

While your global supply chain is an exciting business growth indicator, you also now have a new responsibility – ensuring the components and raw materials in your products are ethically sourced. One of the most concerning issues within ethical sourcing is human trafficking. While human trafficking is known to be most prevalent in areas of the world with weak labor oversight, the truth is that human trafficking is present in almost every country in the world. Even here in San Diego, Source Intelligence’s backyard.

We recently sat down with Carolyn Matzger, Anti-Human Trafficking District Attorney for San Diego, to learn more about the reality of human trafficking in San Diego and some of the important efforts that are being put into place to combat human trafficking. Below is an excerpt of that interview.


Carolyn Matzger, Anti-Human Trafficking District Attorney Interview - August 1, 2019


What role does human trafficking play in your professional career?


I am a Deputy District Attorney in the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division. I am assigned to the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force. I advise law enforcement to help them build their cases. We see mostly sex trafficking cases coming into the Task Force.

I decided to work in the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division because I can help victims when they are at the most vulnerable times of their lives. Something really bad has happened to them, and I do my best to help them. I also am able to hold criminals accountable, oftentimes getting very lengthy sentences because of what they have done.


If someone suspects a person is a victim of human trafficking, how would you advise them to help this person?


I would advise them to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to report their suspicions. The information they give will be forwarded to law enforcement. I would advise them not to confront the suspected trafficker because they could be putting themselves and the victim in grave danger.


Have you seen a rise in human trafficking here in San Diego?


That is a difficult question to answer. There is greater awareness, so we have an increase in reports of human trafficking.


In your opinion, what would it take to end the sex trafficking and human trafficking industry?


For sex trafficking, we would need to have an end to the demand. Without demand, there wouldn’t be any supply. For labor trafficking, employers would need to stop taking advantage of vulnerable people.


What type of industries find themselves in the cross-hairs of human trafficking?


The acts in sex trafficking occur mostly at hotels, motels, and massage parlors. The advertisements are posted online. Labor trafficking occurs in private homes, hotels, motels, nail salons, massage parlors, agricultural fields, candy sales, and begging.


Human Trafficking in the Supply Chain


Whether you sell semiconductors or solar panel manufacturers, toys or sweaters, the raw materials that make up your products come from suppliers all over the world. Beyond logistics and quality assurance, basic elements from within the supply based that are often overlooked include:

  • Who made it?
  • What are the factory work conditions like?
  • How did the employee get hired?
  • What is the pay and how is payment structured?
  • What are normal working hours? If someone goes into overtime, is it compensated ?
  • What were the overall business practice standards of that supplier?


These high-level questions lead to critical information, which is the focus in the world of supply chain social compliance (Click here to learn how to create an anti-human trafficking risk program).

Social compliance is an umbrella term that covers many aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), one of them being ethical sourcing. Ethical sourcing is another broad term that includes fair labor, a fundamental element of modern day slavery. Continuing down the line of terminology, we arrive at anti-human trafficking – the guidelines and standards companies establish to eliminate modern day slavery from their supply chains.


Minimizing Risks and Improving Compliance


Despite the presence of global labor laws like the UK Modern Day Slavery Act and California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (SB 657), developing countries with a high manufacturing output experience severe labor oversight challenges. Lack of oversight increases the chances of modern day slavery activity going uncovered. As such, many corporate social compliance initiatives are now including anti-human trafficking programs.

At Source Intelligence, we’ve worked for years to minimize the risk of human trafficking going undetected in supply chains for companies all over the world. We developed the Desktop Assessment program to help companies manage supplier risk utilizing centralized data collection and advanced supplier analytics. Click here to learn more about Virtual Supplier Audits, and minimizing the risk of human trafficking going undetected in your supply chain.


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