Table of Contents
Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by U.S. Government
Child Labor cited by U.S. Government
Risk of Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by other source
Risk of Child Labor cited by other source
Documented presence of migrant workers
Documented presence of other vulnerable workers
Documented presence or significant likelihood of third-party labor recruiters
Large numbers of dispersed, unorganized, or informal small producers or other worksites
Multiple points of aggregation, co-mingling, and/or transformation across supply chain
Complex/opaque supply chains and/or lack of vertical integration
High degree of flexibility in procurement practices of downstream entities
Scale or nature of risk is strongly associated with certain types of suppliers/entities
Scale or nature of risk is present across multiple tiers or nodes of supply chain (including in associated downstream or upstream goods)
Scale or nature of risk varies significantly based on geographic area of production
Footwear supply chains start with the trade and transport of raw materials, for example leather and rubber. The raw materials are used for production of upper and bottom components by producers who specialize in manufacturing specific component pieces. Footwear components are then assembled and refined (through joining the upper and bottom components) and finished (polished, enhanced with accessories, such as buckles) in the shoe assembly stage. Assembly and finishing an occur manually or on semi-automatic production lines. Finally, finished footwear products are marketed and distributed.18Rossi, Marta et al. “Life Cycle Assessment of a Leather Shoe Supply Chain.” International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, 2021 14:4, 686 – 703, www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/19397038.2021.1920643.
While major downstream businesses are mainly responsible for the final node of marketing and sales, the first three nodes of production are often outsourced to various manufacturers, contractors, and subcontractors,19Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains – Phase I: Research. Verite, 2017, www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EO-and-Commodity-Reports-Combined-FINAL-2017.pdf. including unauthorized and/or informal subcontractors.202021 Apparel and Footwear Benchmark Report. KnowTheChain, 2021, knowthechain.org/wp-content/uploads/2021-KTC-AF-Benchmark-Report.pdf. The common practice of outsourcing limits supply chain transparency, and together with the pressure from downstream actors to meet short lead times and reduce costs, has heightened the risks of forced labor and child labor in all upstream nodes of footwear production.212021 Apparel and Footwear Benchmark Report. KnowTheChain, 2021, knowthechain.org/wp-content/uploads/2021-KTC-AF-Benchmark-Report.pdf.
Production of Components
Assembling and Refining
Finishing and Packing
Trade and Transport of Raw Materials
Wholesale and Retail
Cotton is a common material found in footwear, the production of which has been reportedly associated with forced labor and child labor.
Footwear is associated with the Textile, Apparel, and Luxury Goods sector.