Free the Slaves, along with ten other NGOs—including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Enough Project, and our ATEST partner World Vision—sent a letter this week to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging immediate implementation of the conflict minerals law (PDF).
Minerals from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo turn up in cell phones, lap tops, light bulbs, batteries and other everyday electronics. Through these products, American consumers unknowingly buy into slavery. It is imperative that supply chains become transparent, so we can make informed purchases—and stop unwittingly supporting exploitative and slave labor. We have called this new law an important first step in eradicating slave labor in the mining industry of the Democratic Republic of Congo, because it requires companies that deal in these minerals to disclose how they monitor their supply chains.
It is imperative that there is no delay in the implementation of the conflict minerals law. There is no time to spare for the people in eastern Congo. (Please sign our petition urging the SEC to not overlook slavery in the implementation of the conflict minerals law.)
Here is our letter to Secretary Clinton in full, right after the jump! (Download the PDF of the letter here)
The Global Action Forum is taking place later this week at the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ball Room. From Thursday, February 17 through Friday the 18th, socially conscious celebrities and activists from all over the world and all walks of life will come together to lecture, workshop, and discuss the most pressing human rights issues of our time—and how to leverage our abilities to “bring change to the issues [we] care about.”
The best part? The event is completely free.
In a press release, Global Action Forum founder Frances Skinner-Lewis says, “At other events members of the public typically pay thousands of dollars to hear speakers of [this] caliber.” All you have to bring are your passions, and desire to change the world for the better.
Free the Slaves President Kevin Bales will be moderating a session titled “Human Rights: End Slavery Now.” Representatives from Somaly Mam Foundation, Ugandan anti-slavery organization Hope North, the New York City Human Trafficking Task Force, UNICEF and the Enough Project will be discussing modern slavery in the U.S. and abroad, and how the business world and entertainment industry can work to end slavery. A topic of discussion will be slavery in supply chains—an issue of growing importance in the anti-slavery movement.
Last year, two major pieces of legislation passed that tackle the issue of slavery in supply chains: the Conflict Minerals Act and the California Supply Chain Transparency Act. The former seeks to begin to eliminate human rights abuses in the supply chain of minerals coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo by requiring companies to disclose their supply chain monitoring policies; the latter requires all companies that do business in California and annually gross over $100 million globally to do make public their efforts to purge slavery from their supply chains.
Other luminaries who will take part in the Global Action Forum include Rebecca Romijn (who will take part in a panel discussion on maternal and newborn health, hosted by Save the Children), Martin Sheen, and America Ferrara.
Yours truly will be there to live tweet and blog. See you there!