September 28, 2021 - While a sharp focus on regulation in the financial services industry for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) is maintained, BVI industry players are now asked to join the fight to eradicate all aspects of slave labour and human trafficking in business.
Rani Hong, CEO of The Freedom Seal, and child trafficking survivor, told stakeholders: “We is greater than me” and issued a call to action to not only talk about forced labour, but to commit to solving the issue through action.
Hong’s company, The Freedom Seal, certifies companies that demonstrate their corporate and moral responsibility for compliance and commitment towards eliminating forced labor from supply chains.
Hong’s presentation during a BVI Finance Breakfast Forum on Tuesday, spoke about the impact of forced labour in business, highlighting statistics including over $150 billion in profits, 40 million slaves, 16 million of whom work in the private sector.
In sharing a child labour case involving a popular sports brand, Hong encouraged companies to utilise the Freedom Seal to help protect their reputation, adding, “Nobody wants to be connected to this crime...there’s a cost to it, not just in money, but also reputation.” She told webinar attendees that the company took a big loss, but they were able to recover after taking steps to ensure their supply chains were legitimate.
The CEO said, “Today, consumers are going to require companies to provide evidence that they are doing what they must to fight modern day slavery. [The freedom seal] signifies that these companies have been vetted, are regulated, and are committed to making progress.”
Hong affirmed, “Don’t wait for the fire to happen, take the prevention steps today, so that when the fire happens, you can be prepared, and you can say, ‘this is what I’ve done to prevent forced labour’.”
In addition to manufacturing, hospitality and banking, Rani highlighted agriculture and fishing as industries where forced labour and human trafficking have been uncovered.
In wrapping up her presentation, the CEO said, “I want to build a lot of overcomers. We overcome our obstacles in life, to do better. It is when we make the choice to overcome, that we go past our challenges.”
BVI Finance CEO, Elise Donovan expressed thanks to Ms. Hong and remarked, “We all play a role in the fight against modern day slavery, to ensure that the from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the entertainment we participate in are free from crime,” adding, “ We must ensure that we continue to maintain the highest regulatory standards, not just because we are required to do so by law, but because it is what we should do as human beings.”
The CEO also recommended that attendees find out more about The Freedom Seal, to learn “what we can do to get ahead of the curve of regulation, to ensure the companies that we register in this jurisdiction are not engaging in this atrocity against humanity.”
The Freedom Seal is an integrated approach inclusive of a software tool, training, and education, that helps companies ascertain the areas of risks, or gaps, in their supply chains.
Companies are encouraged to register and request a demo of the risk trafficking software via The Freedom Seal website - www.freedomseal.com.