This post originally appeared in Northeastern Global News. It was published by Beth Treffeisen.
The supply chain begins with farming and harvesting cotton. Workers then weave together the fibers to create yarn. Next, manufacturers buy the material to sew together into garments ranging from T-shirts to dresses before shipping them off to retailers across the globe.
But hidden behind each piece of clothing are the laborers who create it. The workers often were forced to produce it with little to no pay.
Two researchers are pairing up from across the Atlantic to stem this practice by creating a free forced labor data hub. The aim is to showcase the risk of forced labor used in products and to persuade companies and consumers to buy from alternative sources.
“For Northeastern to offer this at no cost because we're being funded through a grant is, in my eyes, revolutionary,” says Shawn Bhimani, an assistant professor of supply chain and information management at Northeastern. “We're trying to create a direct impact in the industry.”