Global Trace Protocol Project

Project Duration
December 2020
December 2024
Funding and Year

The Global Trace Protocol Project by ELEVATE seeks to increase downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor. The project is designed to address the barriers in supply chain traceability, and result in the development and sharing of open, accessible and replicable tools that can advance the knowledge base on supply chain tracing and scale the adoption of traceability solutions by various actors in different sectors.

The Problem

Global estimates indicate that 160 million children are in child labor and 25 million adults and children are in forced labor worldwide.  Many of these people, and the goods produced through their labor, are part of vast and complex global supply chains.  Increasingly, governments, civil society, and consumers are seeking ways to hold companies accountable for exploitative labor conditions throughout their supply chains.  Similarly, responsible companies are seeking ways to identify abusive labor practices within their complex global supply chains and to mitigate and remediate such abuses.

However, several factors make supply chain tracing challenging.  While child labor and forced labor can occur at any stage in a company’s supply chain, research indicates that the risk of these exploitative labor practices is often greatest in upstream production activities, such as raw material extraction and agricultural production, which serve as inputs to other industries.  Yet to date the scope of tracing and research in this area has mostly been restricted to first tier primary suppliers.  As supply chains become more complex, tracking a vast number of suppliers to trace the origins of products, particularly the raw sources from upstream in the supply chain, remains a significant challenge.  The fragmentation and global dispersion of supply chains across international borders may obstruct the visibility of certain suppliers, making some areas of a supply chain opaque.

Our Strategy

The Global Trace Protocol Project by ELEVATE works to increase the downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor.  ELEVATE proposes to conduct pilot tracing in the cotton (Pakistan) and cobalt (Democratic Republic of the Congo) supply chains.  In support of achieving the objective, the project will produce the following outputs:

  • Output 1: Increasing the number of tested supply chain tracing methodologies

    ELEVATE will document the results of the tracing exercises, the methodologies developed, lessons learned, and provide recommendations for replicating the tracing exercises.  The report will identify knowledge gaps, legal and/or enforcement gaps, and other challenges that pose constraints to supply chain tracing, and include recommendations for addressing those challenges.  The report will also identify identified leverage points to address child labor or forced labor for identified goods in the supply chain.
  • Output 2: Increasing the number of piloted tools for supply chain tracing

    ELEVATE will develop and publish tools for stakeholders to replicate tracing of supply chains for other goods using the new methodologies, and underthis output, will also describe the tools and how each tool will contribute to the knowledge base on supply chain tracing.
  • Output 3: Increasing the dissemination of supply chain tracing tools and methodologies to a broad range of stakeholders

    ELEVATE will develop a dissemination strategy during the course of the project.  ELEVATE will also implement a communications plan that will promote awareness-raising on supply chain tracing methodologies and engage a broad range of stakeholders on best practices for conducting supply chain tracing.


Implementing Partners:
Diginex Solutions, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), RCS Global (RCS), Responsible Mining Initiative (RMI)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Forced Labor
FY20 Projects
Supply Chains Tracing