STREAMS – Supply Chain Tracing and Engagement Methodologies

Project Duration
December 2020
June 2025
Funding and Year

The STREAMS project seeks to increase downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor.  The project is developing a comprehensive analytical framework for use by a broad set of stakeholders to categorize supply chains and methods for tracing and validating supply chain connections.  The project will disseminate the supply chain tracing tools and methodologies to enable and promote adoption by diverse actors across 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 STREAMS project works to increase the downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor.  STREAMS aims to conduct pilot tracing with three upstream goods in the garment sector of India: raw cotton, thread/yarn, and textiles.  In support of achieving the objective, the project will produce the following outputs:

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

    STREAMS 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; 

    STREAMS will develop and publish tools that will allow other stakeholders to replicate tracing of supply chains for other goods using the methodologies applied under Output 1.  STREAMS will describe the tools developed under this output, 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. 

    STREAMS will develop a dissemination strategy during the course of the project.  STREAMS will also implement a communications plan to 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:
Phylagen, Sourcemap
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Child Labor
Forced Labor
FY20 Projects
Supply Chains Tracing