If you have seen any suspicious or inappropriate activity please email us the details and a link to the page where possible to:

How the actions (or lack of actions) of a company can indirectly foster human trafficking; the case of Assam and Tata Global Beverages.

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 6th November, 2014

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How the actions (or lack of actions) of a company can indirectly foster human trafficking; the case of Assam and Tata Global Beverages.

Tea is a very popular drink. According to Stop the Traffik (STT, 2014) Not my cup of tea report, across the World, people drink over three billion cups of tea every day. The consumption has increased by 60% in the last 20 years and a further increase is predicted making it the most widely consumed drink after water worldwide.


Assam – the state of India is the world's largest tea-growing region. It lies on either side of the Brahmaputra River bordering Bangladesh and Burma. It consists of 2.3 million hectares of tea bushes; 570 million kg, or 13% of the global tea production comes from almost 1,000 plantations in the region (The Daily Tea, 2013). Assam tea is used by several brands, including well-known in Britain names such as Tetley, Twinings, PG Tips and Yorkshire Tea.


The companies which sell these brands are at the end of a long supply chain which starts at the plantation level in India, where 10 million people depend on the tea industry for their livelihood, making it the largest private sector employer in the country. Assam has a population of over 31 million people and whole communities can directly or indirectly depend on tea growing for survival (STT, 2014).        

Human trafficking can be summarised as “the involuntary movement of persons for exploitation” (The Palermo Protocol, 2010). Due to hidden, criminal and global nature of the phenomenon it is difficult to provide reliable statistics; the conservative research estimated that 20.9 million people are in forced labour at any given time, and trafficking victims comprise some 44 per cent of this figure (ILO, 2012).


The availability of the data on the scale of trafficking of people from the tea plantation is limited. A study by UNICEF in 2014 identified a minimum of 3,000 women and children rescued from trafficking or missing. These figures are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg due to the nature of the phenomenon, the lack of administrative and reporting structures, and the lack of an effective and trustworthy law enforcement system (STT, 2014).


Although the causes of trafficking are varied and complex, several vulnerability and risk factors have been identified by academics and practitioners as underlying forces. These include among others: poverty, hunger, lack of employment, education and development opportunities, lack of social welfare, poor awareness of human trafficking risks and inadequate law enforcement (UN, 2008).


Comparing the UK with Assam is a useful way to realise the socio-economic context of life on the tea plantations in India. The national minimum wage in Assam is set at 169 rupees a day comparing to £6.31 per hour in the UK. Shamefully, tea plantation workers receive only 94 rupees (£0.91) a day. Their pay falls under the statutory minimum wage as the tea plantations’ owners have persuaded the government that they cannot afford to pay their workers the legal minimum (Columbia Law School, 2014). As shrewdly summarised by Kailash Satyarthi, founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan child rescue movement: ‘The owners of these international tea estates don’t care for these people (the workers), they don’t pay them minimum wages. Forget about the decent wages, they don’t pay the survival wages’ (Guardian 2014). The workers’ families are likely to be much larger (compromising on average 5 children per family), than the typical family in England (1.7 children per family). Education in England is free up to the age of 18 with the maximum 30 pupils per class allowed, resulting in the adult illiteracy level of less than 1%. On the other hand, 65% of Assam adults are illiterate, education is free up to year 4 and the number of children in the classroom is extraordinarily high (200-300 pupils in the class; Columbia Law School, 2014).


It is important to bear in mind human trafficking is caused by human traffickers – criminals who commit criminal acts against victims and vulnerable people. They are aware of the appalling conditions on the tea plantations, the pervasive poverty and lack of opportunities, and exploit the vulnerability and desires of locals for a better life away from the plantation’s poverty.


Somalia was 16 when she was lured from the poverty of her home on the tea plantation in Assam with promises of a better life. She was among many other young girls who are deceived and sold to a life of abuse as domestic servants in Delhi and other cities (STT, 2014).


Importantly, the right to a good standard of living on the tea plantations has been legally set.  In particular, the Plantation Labour Act 1951 set clear requirements for employers to provide access to food, decent housing and sanitary standards, health care and education for plantation workers and their families.


Tata Global Beverages is one of the largest tea companies in the World, owner of the Tetley brand and the major shareholder of the APPL tea plantations where there are ongoing reports of human trafficking cases out of tea gardens (STT, 2014). The company came under academic (the Columbia Law School, 2014), media (e.g. and campaigners ( scrutiny. Numerous references to bad living conditions, which foster actions of human trafficking have been made publically, and the company have been asked to take responsibility and develop a holistic approach to tackle the problem. In February 2013 three local Assam and Bengali NGOs filed a complaint to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman on behalf of APPL plantations’ workers to raise concerns about labour and working conditions. The investigation is ongoing (STT, 2014). Tata Global Beverages have begun an investigation into this problem and commissioned and independent, third party audit (STT, 2014).        

To be absolutely clear, we do not accuse Tata Global Beverages of supporting human trafficking, yet the case illustrates how a company’s actions (or lack of actions) can unintentionally aid the creation of unfavourable conditions, which foster human trafficking resulting in reputational, legal and organisational losses.


Summing up, Tata Global Beverages has an opportunity to play a vital role in human trafficking prevention. By improving the conditions on its plantations and preventing trafficking out of tea gardens, the company has a unique opportunity to lead the fight against this awful crime and rebuild its trust and reputation. This is particularly important in times when companies are increasingly pressurised by consumers to produce ethical goods and a focus on corporate social responsibility has been rapidly growing.


Written by Agata Polak, Finance Against Trafficking



The Illusion of Progress

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 30th October, 2014

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The nineties saw a seismic shift in corporate attitudes towards social compliance, as conscientious consumers forced manufacturing companies to address the standards of human rights throughout

Is certification really valuable to the improvements of conditions faced by cocoa farmers?

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 25th September, 2014

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Trends in the UK reflect the global surge in ethically produced goods - consumers are increasingly keen on buying ethical products, even if it means paying a higher price.  Congruent with


Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 4th September, 2014

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In the final blog on the UN’s Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the focus is on the operational practicalities of embedding the principles into a business. There are a number of

How can the financial sector lead the fight on human trafficking?

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 22nd August, 2014

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Business of any kind can be involved in human trafficking both intentionally but also unwittingly. The finance industry in particular is greatly exposed to the dangers of being used as a channel for


Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 31st July, 2014

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Each separate state has its own distinct laws and regulations with regard to human trafficking, but for private sector companies operating throughout multiple nations and governances, the legal lines


Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 13th June, 2014

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Whether you run a small business or global organisation, corporate social responsibility is an essential part of maintaining a successful relationship with customers. Though the service or product

ChainChecker: the first step to tackling human trafficking in the supply chain

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 12th May, 2014

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Human trafficking is not a straightforward challenge for a business, regardless of its size.  Businesses are often unaware of the unethical and sometimes criminal behaviour of others in their

The Guiding Principles: how to keep human trafficking out of your business

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 1st May, 2014

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Multinational businesses employ millions across the globe, deliver products or services to millions more, and generate millions in profit and revenue each year. Big businesses possess a great deal of

The Global Supply Chain Summit Blog

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 22nd April, 2014

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“How many slaves do you own?” This was the confronting question asked by keynote speaker, Jean Baderschneider (Polaris Project) right before the day came to an end. Even more confronting


Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 14th April, 2014

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Our new online tool has just launched!  ChainChecker will help you understand more about the risk and vulnerabiliity to human trafficking within your business, highlight areas of concern and

Finance Against Trafficking speaking at the Global Supply Chains Summit

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 9th April, 2014

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Every business has a supply chain.  From the cocoa beans that go in to make your favourite chocolate bar to the cotton seed planted for the fabric that makes your t-shirt.  As

A darker side of chocolate, Understanding human trafficking risks in the chocolate supply chain: We have a choice.

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 11th December, 2013

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If you often feel guilty when treating yourself to a bar of chocolate, your conscience will surely be awakened after reading STOP THE TRAFFIK’s latest publication. This report opens your eyes to

Whoever said one bad apple spoils the bunch?

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 8th August, 2013


Announcements were made recently that technology industry leaders Apple are falling behind in terms of international sales, after Samsung overtook the brand with a £3.4bn global profit. Apple

How successfully does Pandora’s CSR address the issues surrounding Human Trafficking?

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 14th June, 2013


All that glitters is not gold. Especially where trafficking is concerned…   The Danish crafter of luxury jewellery published ‘Pandora ETHICS’ on their website this time last

IKEA: IWAY or the Highway

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 24th May, 2013


Having addressed the relevance of Corporate Social Responsibility reports in our last blog, we are taking a closer look at some specific cases put in place by international retailers. IKEA are first

Can you see through your purchases? Buying and supplying transparently

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 10th May, 2013


“…global supply chains are regularly compromised by unethical labour practices, and many products available to consumers remain the result of trafficking…” (Nathalie

Human Trafficking in the Middle East dissected in latest ILO `Tricked and Trapped’ Report

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 19th April, 2013


A recent in-depth report from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO), has deconstructed regions in the Middle East to trace its vulnerability to human trafficking. It has been

Ethical Transparency at the Supply Chain Level

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 12th April, 2013


Recent US and Australian initiatives have demonstrated a valid commitment to crack down on human trafficking within the business sector. Both President Barack Obama and Australia’s Prime

New Year: Resolutions vs Disillusion

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 3rd January, 2013

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2012 has passed, thankfully with no Apocalypse to speak of. Still, it’s an ominous moment for many of us: the season to be jolly is breathing it’s last, and the fearful season of

Where does the buck stop?

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 2nd November, 2012

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The stark link between big business and human trafficking was hard to ignore this week in the Guardian report of ‘trafficked and beaten’ workers collecting chickens for Freedom foods. In

The FAT Audit Tool is in development

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 24th April, 2012

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Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) is developing a business audit tool, a resource which businesses will be able to use to identify areas within their own supply chains and processes that are at

Ruggie Guidelines - Human Trafficking Interpretation

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 24th April, 2012

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A small team of our members are working to produce a product based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy'

PPAML - A Pragmatically Perfect Anti-Money Laundering approach

Posted by Finance Against Trafficking on 20th April, 2012

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A Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) team drawn from the finance, legal and regulatory professions are developing a resource that will apply current thinking on AML as it pertains to human


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(e) any other information that you choose to send to us; and


(f) information relating to any ACT group that you create or become a member of, Coordinator page you are in control of or Lead Activist page you are in control of (including the blogs you write, the events you post, the campaigns you are working on, the messages that you send, the galleries you create, the money you have fundraised for STOP THE TRAFFIK, the money you have fundraised to fund your own campaigning activities and the annual reports that you file with us).


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When you make a donation please note that this is via the WorldPay platform. Please check WorldPay's privacy policy in relation to any cookies that may be downloaded from that site at


We use Google Analytics to analyse the use of this website. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about website use by means of cookies, which are stored on users' computers. The information generated relating to our website is used to create reports about the use of the website. Google will store this information. Google's privacy policy is available at: You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies by visiting


Most browsers allow you to reject all cookies, whilst some browsers allow you to reject just third party cookies. For example, in Internet Explorer you can refuse all cookies by clicking "Tools", "Internet Options", "Privacy", and selecting "Block all cookies" using the sliding selector. Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites, including this one.


(3) Using your personal information


Personal information submitted to us via this website will be used for the purposes specified in this privacy and cookies policy or in relevant parts of the website.


We may use your personal information to:


(a) administer the website;


(b) improve your browsing experience by personalising the website;


(c) enable your use of the services available on the website;


(d) send to you goods purchased via the website, and supply to you services purchased via the website;


(e) send statements and invoices to you, and collect payments from you;


(f) send you general (non-marketing) and non-commercial communications;


(g) send you email notifications which you have specifically requested;


(h) send to you our newsletter and other marketing communications relating to our Company Limited by Guarantee or Registered Charity which we think may be of interest to you by post or, where you have specifically agreed to this, by email or similar technology (you can inform us at any time if you no longer require marketing communications by emailing us at;


(i) provide third parties with statistical information about our users (including the number of users on our website, their geographic locations and the types of activity they are undertaking) - but this information will not be used to identify any individual user;


(j) deal with enquiries and complaints made by or about you relating to the website;


(k) deal with reported incidents of human trafficking made by you to STOP THE TRAFFIK; and


(l) deal with media enquiries made by you to STOP THE TRAFFIK.


Where you submit personal information for publication on our website, unless it is entered into a secure form or area where the public do not have general access, we reserve the right to remove it.


We will not without your express consent provide your personal information to any third parties for the purpose of direct marketing.


All our website financial transactions are handled through our payment services provider, WorldPay. You can review the WorldPay privacy policy at


We will share information with WorldPay only to the extent necessary for the purposes of processing payments you make via our website and dealing with complaints and queries relating to such payments.


(4) Disclosures


We may disclose information about you to any of our employees, officers, agents, suppliers or subcontractors insofar as reasonably necessary for the purposes as set out in this privacy and cookies policy.


In addition, we may disclose your personal information:


(a) to the extent that we are required to do so by law;


(b) in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings;


(c) in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk);


(d) to the purchaser (or prospective purchaser) of any business or asset that we are (or are contemplating) selling; and


(e) to any person who we reasonably believe may apply to a court or other competent authority for disclosure of that personal information where, in our reasonable opinion, such court or authority would be reasonably likely to order disclosure of that personal information.


Except as provided in this privacy and cookies policy, we will not provide your information to third parties.


(5) International data transfers


Information that we collect will not normally be stored and processed in or transferred to countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). We will only transfer data to countries outside of the EEA where that country has data protection laws equivalent to those in force in the EEA.


In addition, personal information that you submit for publication on the website will be published on the internet and may be available, via the internet, around the world. We cannot prevent the use or misuse of such information by others.


You expressly agree to such transfers of personal information.


(6) Security of your personal information


We will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information.


We will store all the personal information you provide on our secure password- and firewall- protected servers. All electronic transactions and human trafficking incident reports you make to or receive from us will be encrypted using SSL technology.


Of course, data transmission over the internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the internet.


You are responsible for keeping your password and user details confidential. We will not ask you for your password (except when you log in to the website).


(7) Policy amendments


We may update this privacy and cookies policy from time-to-time by posting a new version on our website. You should check this page occasionally to ensure you are happy with any changes.


We may also notify you of changes to our privacy and cookies policy by email.


(8) Your rights


You may instruct us to provide you with any personal information we hold about you. Provision of such information will be subject to:


(a) the payment of a fee (currently fixed at £10.00); and


(b) the supply of appropriate evidence of your identity (for this purpose, we will usually accept a photocopy of your passport certified by a solicitor or bank plus an original copy of a utility bill showing your current address).


We may withhold such personal information to the extent permitted by law.


You may instruct us not to process your personal information for marketing purposes, by sending an email to In practice, you will usually either expressly agree in advance to our use of your personal information for marketing purposes, or we will provide you with an opportunity to opt-out of the use of your personal information for marketing purposes.


(9) Third party websites


The website contains links to other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy policies or practices of third party websites.


(10) Updating information


Please let us know if the personal information which we hold about you needs to be corrected or updated by sending an email to

(11) Contact


If you have any questions about this privacy and cookies policy or our treatment of your personal information, please write to us by email to or by post to STOP THE TRAFFIK, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7HS, United Kingdom


(12) Data controller


The data controller responsible in respect of the information collected on this website is STOP THE TRAFFIK

Our data protection registration number is Z3165593.


Our Charter

Our purpose: STOP THE TRAFFIK exists to end the buying and selling of people.
We are prevention focused; we prevent human trafficking by:


Our values:


As a member of STOP THE TRAFFIK, my commitment is:

  1. To work to further the purpose of STOP THE TRAFFIK as outlined by this charter 
  2. When I use the brand I will follow brand guidelines 
  3. When I fundraise I will follow the fundraising guidelines 
  4. When I collect data I will give all data collected to STOP THE TRAFFIK, the registered legal owner. 
  5. When I take action I will plan, stay safe and legal 
  6. To Work with other members whenever possible as greater impact can be achieved through collaboration.