This post is part of a special “Up Close with Team…” series, featuring Q&As with the five finalists of the Rethink Supply Chains Challenge.

Cisco Foundation (Main Images)-44 (1)Good World Solutions’ Laborlink Trafficking Module analyzes and maps forced labor using a mobile communication channel between workers and supply chain leaders to report on working conditions. The team is one of five Rethink Supply Chains finalists competing for a $250,000 grand prize. Stay tuned for the winner announcement in April!

Why is this Challenge important to you? What do you hope your solution will achieve?
71% of companies believe there is a strong likelihood of slavery in their supply chains. There are an estimated 11.7 million forced laborers in Asia alone. Yet companies know very little about how to identify and address trafficking. Workers are in the best position to report abusive conditions, but they need safe, anonymous channels to do so. Laborlink has five years of experience capturing data from workers and translating it into actionable analytics. Our new Laborlink Trafficking Module will dramatically improve visibility – capturing millions of data points from workers and mapping risks of forced labor in a new way.

What inspired your solution?
While monitoring working conditions in factories in China and Pakistan, Heather Franzese (Co-founder, Executive Director) saw a disconnect between the workers making the product and, thousands of miles away, the company buying it. At the same time, these workers started to carry their own mobile phones, inspiring Heather to develop a new way of connecting with workers. Since 2010, Laborlink has provided more than 600,000 workers across 16 countries with a secure channel to report on real factory conditions, 365 days a year. With more frequent and accessible communication, Laborlink is quickly detecting workplace hazards and labor abuses by surfacing unheard worker voices. Building on this success, we believe that developing a Trafficking Module is a natural extension of our organization’s mission to use data to create safe and respectful workplaces.

Your team has entered the Finalist Accelerator phase, which includes expert mentorship and participation in a live boot camp. What do you hope to learn through the process?
Our team is excited to expand our successful and scalable tools to address and prevent the systemic issues of forced labor with the appropriate support from NGOs and government agencies. Informed by their expertise, we will develop a trust with these vulnerable worker groups while also focusing on the growing requirements companies face under new legislation like the UK Modern Slavery Bill and California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. After participating in the live boot camp, we will be on an accelerated pathway to develop new tools – including an Index Survey, M-Learning Content, and Risk Map – to accurately identify, inform, and remedy forced labor issues in manufacturing supply chains.