Holding Corporations Accountable for Labor and Sex Exploitation


Fabio Leonardi, JD, LLM | September 20 | 9:00-10:00 AM

Topic: Legal, Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced | Location: TBD

While the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) has rarely been within the purview of the corporate compliance world, a recent nationwide waive of corporate anti-human trafficking litigation is changing how corporations address human trafficking risks within their operations and supply chain. In fact, although trafficking victims have generally invoked the TVPA to seek restitution from their traffickers, this landmark federal law also grants a cause of action to bring claims against multinationals, such as hotel chains, financial institutions, social media companies, and retail manufacturers that benefit from labor or sex exploitation. Additionally, the TVPA exposes corporations to potential criminal liability if their business operations, or even investments, benefit from human trafficking. This presentation will address corporate human trafficking liability and describe how domestic and foreign companies may become the target of victim-centered civil litigation as well as regulatory enforcement or criminal prosecution because of their negligent or reckless failures to implement appropriate corporate anti-human trafficking compliance. The presentation will also review recent corporate anti-human trafficking lawsuits that have seen well-known international hotels, large tech companies and luxury car manufacturers at the crosshair of forced labor, sex trafficking and corporate liability.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe how companies can be held civilly and criminally liable for benefitting from forced labor and sex trafficking

·  Explain how social workers and advocates can work with trafficking victims and legal professionals to provide redress by holding corporations liable

·  Discuss how law enforcement can combine corporate investigation techniques and human trafficking prosecution experience to investigate and prosecute corporations whose operations or investments benefit from human trafficking

·  Explain how policy advocates can borrow from the federal corporate anti-human trafficking regime to spearhead similar legislation reform of state anti-human trafficking laws

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