HUMAN TRAFFICKING | China (teaser)

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, is a grim reality of the 21st century global landscape in both developed as well as developing countries. The human trafficking industry represents a $32 billion industry in today’s market. Plaguing 161 countries, millions of women, men and children are smuggled across international borders where they are exploited by their traffickers to turn a profit. More specifically, sex trafficking occurs throughout the world, and holds to be a growing issue in China. Women and children are the key targets for sex trafficking, and are exploited when they are in susceptible states.

Remember, we are not simply talking about the price of buying and selling milk. These victims will bear the scars of their past for as long as they live. This White Paper offers enlightening information and insightful recommendations to help put an end to this horrible industry, and save countless lives.

Sina’s Story

“Kidnapped at 13 from her home country of Vietnam, Sina was drugged, taken to Cambodia, and raped by a white customer who had purchased her virginity. After that, she was held captive and her sexual services sold to wealthy clients. When Sina was too ill and demoralized to pretend to be enjoying the daily forced sexual encounters, she was beaten and brutally tortured. Sina was doused with water and prodded with electric shocks. She was confined in a coffin with biting ants for days at a time. After years of such abuse, she was rescued in a police raid and has gone on to be an anti-trafficking activist”


Wang Bangyin breaks down as he hugs his rescued son in Guiyang, southwest China on October 29, 2009. His son was among 60 children rescued from human traffickers. The Epoch Times


Just Kind of Do it


Back in the 1990’s, Nike’s business strategy revolved solely around profit. Phil Night denied responsibility, procrastinated proactive changes, and brushed off ethical decisions as a public relations issue. However, after 1998, Nike made drastic changes in their oversea working conditions and apparel industry as a whole after their sales dropped. Now, were they really committed to international human rights? Did their ethical practices hold up?

Nike Kind of Does It

As you can see, Nike stayed somewhat committed to preserving human rights.  When I first started reading this article, I was not surprised by the new Malaysian scandal of Nike taking passports and cutting wages of international employees. However, I was surprised at Nike’s ability to learn from their mistakes. Instead of denying responsibility, Nike now admitted to their breach in their code of conduct with their contractors. Twenty years ago, Phil Night would have claimed it was their contractors’ duty to pay attention to ethics of their employees and Nike does not need to worry about it. Now, they are accepting responsibility right off the bat and actually meeting with not only the one, but 30 other contractors in Malaysia to discuss enforcing labor standards.

But here, Nike still only reacted. As Tim Connor, a labor-rights activist from Oxam Australia, puts it, “we are looking for a systematic change that improves conditions across the supply chain, not solutions once problems are exposed.” Despite them accepting responsibility, Nike still allowed the working conditions to get that bad. Nike was reactive instead of proactive. They turned their heads until the public got involved. They only learned from their mistakes in the sense that negative public publicity hurts their sales and denying it only makes it worse. As a result, they quickly accepted responsibility in order to escape profit loss.  Just like in the 1990’s, Nike is still largely concerned with profit, but now they know how to manage it better.

Nevertheless, Nike still has implemented more ethical concerns into their business strategy. For example, Nike successfully has adopted a VP of Corporate responsibility that’s goal is to implement corporate responsibility into Nike’s operations. One successful team she manages is Nike’s Consideration Team that looks for innovating and sustainable designs to reduce environmental wastes. This team uses a computer program that calculates the environmental costs of a shoe design. While maintaining style, Nike has effectively created Green shoes that practically generate no waste through changing little technical designs and has saved over $800,000,000 worth of materials.

Overall, I believe Nike has improved their ethical practices since the 1990’s. However, I agree with Tim Connor that being reactive is not enough. As a leader in the industry, Nike needs to set the precedent that working conditions need to improve. They need to take proactive steps to ensure their contractors are holding up to their contracts. The public shouldn’t have to raise concerns for Nike to enforce international human rights.