Human Trafficking

Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) has proposed that three companies report on online child sexual exploitation. It withdrew after discussions at Apple, having sought

a report, including a risk February 2020, assessing whether Apple’s products, services, policies and practices are sufficient to prevent material impacts to the company’s finances, brand reputation, or product demand, in light of strong public concern regarding the growing risk to children of sexual exploitation online.

CBIS, Proxy Impact, and faith-based investor have pending resolutions at Sprint and Verizon Communications that are seeking

a report on the potential sexual exploitation of children through the company’s products and services, including a risk March 2020, assessing whether the company’s oversight, policies and practices are sufficient to prevent material impacts to the company’s brand reputation, product demand or social license.

These resolutions are the beginning of a new campaign that will engage a wide variety of IT companies involved with data storage, social media and telecommunications, as well as at device producers. Seventy-five percent of children trafficked or sold for sex are advertised online. Mobile devices have led to a dramatic increase in online child sex imagery—at least 50,000 new images are posted each year online and more than half of these are of children 10 years old or younger.

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Tracey C. Rembert
Director of Catholic Responsible Investing, Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS)

While Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies are now widely-held components of many investor portfolios, they are also at the center of an escalating trend in children being sexually exploited and abused online. The technology used in sex crimes against children is ubiquitous, from smartphones to gaming consoles, and through various apps, text messaging, social media sites, cloud storage, and more. And yet, ICT companies rarely disclose how they are combating these growing risks, from identifying and blocking child sex images, to investing in new solutions to stay ahead of the abusers.

Trucking: The Presbyterian Church (USA) has withdrawn a proposal to Hub Group that asks it to report “on the implementation of a program to address human trafficking internally and in its supply chain.” The withdrawal came after discussions with the company and Truckers Against Trafficking. The supporting statement suggested the report include a policy statement, overview of company education and training efforts, plans for customer communications, information for trucker contacts at its destinations and publish an annual report.

Sugarcane supply chain: As You Sow has resubmitted a resolution to Monster Beverage, asking it to issue a report by November “containing the criteria and analytical methodology used to determine its conclusion of ‘minimal risk’ of slavery and human trafficking in its sugarcane supply chain.” The resolution earned 19.9 percent in 2018.