On July 30, the United Nations recognizes World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. This year’s theme, “Use and abuse of technology,” addresses the significant role the global expansion of technology plays in human trafficking, which often involves children. Mercy Investment Services has joined other shareholders in engaging companies in the information communications technology (ICT) industry on reducing and preventing child sexual exploitation online, as well as the grooming that often leads to in-person trafficking and exploitation of children.
At the urging of shareholders, global company Verizon worked with Threefold Sustainability, a third-party organization with human rights due diligence and child rights expertise, to conduct a Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) to evaluate Verizon’s entire business with input from internal and external stakeholders. The CRIA executive summary identifies and provides recommendations on issues of digital access, inclusion, and skills; digital child safety, including child sexual exploitation and abuse; and product design.
Verizon responded with several commitments to positively impact child rights and help prevent child sexual exploitation. Mercy Investment Services will monitor how Verizon fulfills its commitments, as well as collaborate with fellow shareholders to engage and encourage other companies in the tech sector, including Alphabet/Google and Meta/Facebook to conduct Child Rights Impact Assessments.