• Published: 9 November 2021

ELEVATE Global is proud to expand our partnership with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) as a sub-awardee for a new project funded by the Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS) at the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office).

The Coordinated Action towards Forced labor Eradication (CAFE) project aims to reduce forced labor through interventions targeting the coffee industry in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. To support the project’s aims, ELEVATE will identify and address labor abuses on coffee farms through targeted worker surveys and the development of a worker-centric grievance mechanism.

“Providing a trusted channel of communication for vulnerable workers is a key step in identifying and addressing forced labor risks. By creating an effective grievance mechanism for coffee workers in Brazil, ELEVATE intends to use the power of worker’s voice to inform approaches to both prevent and remediate forced labor.”

– Sung In Marshall, Associate Director, Worker Engagement

As the world’s largest coffee producer with 2020 exports valued at $5.7 billion, Brazil is the preferred supplier for leading global brands. However, coffee represents the number one labor trafficking sector. According to ELEVATE’s EiQ supply chain risk data, Brazil presents a high risk of forced labor, with coffee categorized as an extreme risk product. Workers in the coffee sector have reported forced labor issues ranging from hazardous working conditions to recruitment by unethical intermediaries to debt bondage.

This impactful new project will harness ELEVATE’s on-the-ground expertise in Brazil where we have delivered actionable strategies and advisory services for clients to advance sustainable practices in the coffee and agriculture sectors, and our industry-leading worker voice technologies which provide channels for direct worker feedback and accessible grievance mechanisms to workers in supply chains globally.

“Exploitation of workers on coffee farms is unfortunately still a reality and their exposure to forced labor has to do with the lack of communication channels which can support them in knowing and defending their basic rights. ELEVATE’s solution can help to overcome this gap and reduce the risks in the major coffee production area in the state of Minas Gerais.”

– Beat Grüninger, Senior Director Sustainability Consulting LatAm.

ELEVATE’s scalable, worker-centric grievance mechanism will integrate with – and strengthen – the existing protection infrastructure in Brazil and will complement the suite of coordinated, synergistic interventions led by project partner organizations including Stanford University and Instituto Trabalho Decente (ITD). Together, these interventions will transform the existing systems that perpetuate exploitation and will create sustainable changes to eliminate forced labor.

This announcement was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.