How Oil Companies Can Address Risk & Exposure for Human Trafficking

K&L Gates and Acorn International hosted a panel discussion on the emerging subject of human rights in the supply chain for managers of international oil & gas companies in Houston on April 3. Representatives from companies in the industry, as well as academic institutions, participated in a lively discussion on how this is becoming an important issue for the oil and gas industry and what steps can be taken to manage associated risks.

Panelists included:

  • Minal Patel Davis, Special Advisor to the Mayor on Human Trafficking, City of Houston



Some important findings and ideas emerged from the panel discussion, including:

  • Foreseeing and preventing involvement in human trafficking is an increasingly important challenge for all businesses including the oil and gas industry. This is even the case in the US and particularly relative to large construction projects.
  • While much attention has been given to anti-slavery legislation in the UK, Australia and other countries, US corporations also need to pay attention to issues relating to modern slavery.
  • Investors are increasingly pushing companies to deliver both profitable and socially responsible performance – not either or.  A number of helpful guidelines and tools are emerging to help guide, support and track/report on how companies manage commitments to respect human rights in their supply chains.
  • The oil and gas industry has not traditionally been a target for NGOs or activists focusing on human rights concerns, but there are signs that this is changing.
  • Human rights, and more generally Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) issues, increasingly need to be understood, discussed and actioned at the director and board level.

Acorn International’s Andrew Buchman (far right) and Dean Slocum (3rd from right)

Acorn International

1702 Taylor St, Suite 200B
Houston, TX 77007, USA

1213 Purchase St
New Bedford, MA 02740, USA


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