Ethical guidelines and policies help the companies to guide and lead the operation to take social responsibility for how it affects the environs. It gives support for the employees’ behavior in various situations.
Areas relevant for all companies to make policies with connection to human trafficking for sexual purposes and human rights more visible:
• Rules against paying for sexual services, escort services and visits to strip clubs
• Rules against looking at porn online are also often part of ethical guidelines when confirming social responsibility.
When a policy is introduced, other companies and government policies can grant guidance. However, several policies are not very clear on why reviewing and development is needed.
H&M is an example of a company with policy in this area. They have a travel policy which guides its employees not to go to places where sex trade occurs. In its code of conduct dealing with sexual harassment, Sandvik has emphasized that requesting sexual services must not occur. It is therefore primarily an internal focus at the moment (but could be further developed, according to Sandvik).
The guidelines should be part of companies’ code of conduct, which clarifies and summarizes the companies’ liability issues with various stakeholders (for example: the environment, health and work conditions, the community and other social and stability matters).
Through this, the issues with human trafficking become an integrated part of the social responsibilities of the companies. The clearer the guidelines are on for example distancing from sex purchases – the better support they can give. It becomes important to raise awareness of how paying for sex contributes to the sex trade and trafficking markets. They are two sides of the same coin. The staff should be told to not get caught in situations that can mean a risk of abandoning ethical guidelines and business ethics.
For support in the work with policy and ethical guidelines contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Particularly vulnerable branches
Certain branches are more vulnerable risk branches and have therefore a greater responsibility to make sure they create preventive measures so that the organization does not make things easier for human trafficking operators (recruitment, transport and exploitation). Operators working with human trafficking for sexual purposes make use of services, locations and venues for their operation. The risk branches are hotels, clubs, taxi, events & sport arrangements, banks and web hosting campanies that can provide services for the criminal activity. Companies dedicated to these branches should identify and handle the risks in a preventive way, where co-workers have been taught to handle potential situations.
Scandic Hotels has added a text about trafficking in its new code of conduct. Roger Olofsson has this to say about why they chose to clarify their position on the matter:
“We brought out a new Code of Conduct last year. We have a clear statement about how we do not accept trafficking and also what we should do when it occurs. We come across the problem in our hotels. The issues have come up a number of times during the years I have worked here. The hotels are aware of this and there are procedures focused on how we should handle a suspected problem.”
From Scandic Hotels’ code of conduct
“Scandic has zero tolerance for crimes in the hotels. We cooperate with the local authorities in the struggle against crime.
We consider trafficking to be a particularly serious crime, and we will never allow prostitution in our hotels.”
Laws and international human rights guidelines
• National legislation and international conventions and declarations
• UN’s Global Compact
• UN’s guiding principles for companies and human rights
• The Sex Trade Law, the Discrimination Legislation (diskrimineringslagstiftningen) and more
• UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child