As consumers have become more aware of labour abuses, international companies have been forced to scrutinise labour practices at the various factories involved in manufacturing their products. In accordance with laws like the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act and 2010 California Supply Chain Transparency Act, multinational retailers
These supply chain approaches, while ineffective in resolving the roots of labour exploitation, have become so ubiquitous that they have shifted global attention to focus almost exclusively on the abuse that happens in export-oriented sectors. This may cause concerned Global North citizens, organisations and policymakers to overlook the systemic exploitation that occurs among service sector workers - domestic workers and sex workers, in particular, are often left behind.
A criticism of supply chain approaches is that they obscure the importance of building worker power to counteract these forces. Worker-led efforts, rather than corporate or consumer-led ones, shift the focus to the ideas, needs and collective action of the workers themselves.
Global supply chain initiatives that fail to include worker-led empowerment and organising are inevitably limited in their scope and ability to achieve permanent and comprehensive solutions to the widespread scourge of labour coercion and abuse. Prioritising investment in worker capacity to organise collectively to combat exploitation is critical to securing social and economic justice that leaves no one behind.