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Interdisciplinary efforts in graduate education
The theme of the next issue of Professional Education News will be interdisciplinary efforts in graduate professional education. Do you know of a graduate project or program at UD that gets extraordinary results by crossing disciplinary lines? Do you know of an outstanding interdisciplinary effort to serve our professional graduate students? Please send your ideas for feature
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Associate Provost for Professional Education
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New online course addresses human trafficking
Course creators Marsha Dickson and Doug Cahn at the September meeting of the social Responsibility Committee of the American Apparel and Footwear Association in Washington, DC.
The average consumer may think that 'slavery' does not exist in today's world. Yet according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is estimated to be the third largest international crime industry, generating estimated profits of $15.5 billion in industrialized countries and at least double that worldwide.
In 2010, the California legislature passed the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, which will require retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to publicly disclose their efforts to train employees and managers on issues of human trafficking and slavery in their companies' supply chains. As the eighth largest economy in the world, the California law will affect over 3,000 brands, retailers, vendors and suppliers with headquarters both inside and outside the U.S.
"UD has been offering its innovative graduate certificate in socially responsible and sustainable apparel business for four years, addressing prevention of forced labor, exploitation and other issues relevant to human trafficking and slavery in global supply chains," says Dickson, who is an international authority on corporate responsibility in supply chains. "Creating this focused course for supply chain professionals was a natural extension of that work."
Defining and identifying 'human trafficking' or 'slavery' can be complicated. Workers are often forced by their economic circumstances to accept employment terms that are less than ideal, but when does that become 'slavery'? That's why recognizing the risks of human trafficking and slavery is a key objective of the course, with a focus on presenting real-world scenarios to help participants identify both the obvious and more subtle indicators of trafficking or forced labor.
"The course reflects a unique combination of academic rigor and practical business experience, and puts an end to many preconceived notions about the nature of human trafficking and slavery," Cahn emphasizes. "Company representatives taking the online course will become aware of human trafficking and slavery and be able to identify the risks that may be present in their supply chain. The course also provides guidance to supply chain managers on how to support mitigation and prevention efforts when human trafficking and slavery is found."
The Rev. David M. Schilling, Director of Human Rights for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility welcomes the effects of the California legislation. "The California law provides an impetus for companies to proactively learn about and address human trafficking and modern day slavery. I believe the act will speed up the process of companies going deeper down their supply chains to identify and eliminate any form of forced labor that exists," says Schilling, who was recently featured as a contributor on the CNN Freedom Project.
The new program has been well-received in the human rights community as well as among companies whose goal is compliance with the California law and beyond. "Training of company personnel is critical to implementing effective remediation and reporting," says Schilling. "This new program provides an important tool for corporate supply chain professionals."