Farewell to Roky and the Evolving HTS Landscape

Thomas Fox
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Compliance Evangelist

For true music aficionados we had two significant losses in the world of rock and roll last week. We also have a significant anniversary in rock history this week. Sometimes Jupiter aligns with Mars and its time for another week of rock and roll intros to my blog posts. Today we honor fellow Texas Roky Erickson. According to his New York Timesobituary, “Roky Erickson, a defining force in psychedelic rock in the 1960s and the stuff of rock lore ever since.  Dan Maier wrote in The Guardian, that while “If not quite the first band to have the now seemingly ubiquitous P-word applied to their music, their debut album, 1966’s ‘The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators,’ delivered a manifesto for better living through chemistry that no previous act had so explicitly set forth.”

Unfortunately it was the ‘better living through chemistry” part which derailed Ericson and forever defined his music and his life. His extensive use of acid led to schizophrenia. His love of marijuana led to his arrest for possessing one joint and  “when he pleaded insanity and was incarcerated in a maximum security unit of a prison for the criminally insane” in Rusk, Texas “where he underwent electroshock and drug treatment.” After his release Erickson did continue to record but he struggled with mental illness the rest of his life.

According to his obituary in Billboard, “Roky Erickson spent his rock ‘n roll career facing down dualities: reality and disorientation, lovers and monsters, the sacred and profane. Despite mental, chemical and legal issues that plagued his life and career, Erickson stayed creative, vital and relevant well into the 21st century, making great music with protegees like Mogwai, the Black Angels and Okkervil River.” [See Rock Ericson playlist at the conclusion of this blog post.] His one-time manager Darren Hill, told Billboard, “[His music] led to a new role of what rock could be. His courage always led him on to new musical adventures, [which] he continued without compromise his entire life.”

Erickson’s legacy informs today’s topic of Human Trafficking and Slavery (HTS) I recently had the chance to with Kate Dunbar, Senior Business & Human Rights Analyst and subject matter expert in HST, on the current and evolving HTS landscape. We begin with a review of the current landscape. Interestingly, since 2015, there has been between one and three laws related to human trafficking and slavery enacted each year by countries across the globe. This has added many legal requirements which companies must understand, manage and comply with going forward. Dunbar explained these regulations fall into three general types.

The first is transparency laws. Under transparency laws, companies are required to  scope and disclose what efforts, if any, they are taking to address the issue of modern slavery, both in their operations and supply chain. She provided several examples of this type of HTS legislation. The first of this kind was the “California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which came out in 2012. Next is the UK Modern Slavery Act which came out in 2015. Recently, you would have the Australian Modern Slavery Act.” These are all examples of transparency laws.

The second type of laws are what Dunbar referred to as trade laws, which are mainly coming out of the US. In the US it is illegal to transport persons for work without pay, whether in the sex trade or any other industry. Of course, transporting persons for the sex trade is also illegal. It is also prohibited to import goods into the US that have been made with forced labor or child labor. Dunbar noted, “if you are a company that sells or imports goods into the US the onus is on you to conduct due diligence, to be able to show enforcement agencies that your goods weren’t made involving those human rights violations.”

The third type of regulations related to HTS generally are what are called mandatory human rights due diligence laws. Dunbar believes, “in many ways this is the most interesting and, at the end of the day, may be the most effective because it demonstrates the move from transparency laws (name and shame) and now we are moving towards mandatory due diligence.” These due diligence laws obligate companies to take robust action to identify and mitigate risks of human trafficking and other human rights violations from within a supply chain.

Most interestingly, the first country to enact this type of law was France. They call it the  “Duty of Vigilance Law.” The European Union (EU) itself is looking at moving towards this type of law on a continent-wide basis and, as Dunbar related, several other EU countries such as Germany, Italy and Sweden are all considering enacting their own version of a mandatory human rights’ due diligence law. Finally, Dunbar related there is a United Nations (UN) working group on business and human rights which is pushing for this type of legislation as well.

I asked Dunbar how a supply chain compliance professional can take this information regarding these types of laws and then synthesize these requirements into a compliance program? She related the key is to not simply human trafficking slavery as a pure compliance topic because to do so and you are “missing half the picture.” Dunbar recommends, “looking at the broad array of requirements and expectations, not just from a regulatory point of view, but also customer,  investor and consumer point of view. Take input from your important stakeholders as to what they are expecting and requiring of you as a business and use that information to build your compliance and due diligence.”

Dunbar believes what an organization needs is a “defensible process when it stands up to scrutiny and that is consistent. Such an approach enables you to take more targeted action and protect your business. In a nutshell, it’s really about getting the information from your suppliers that you need and taking appropriate action based on that data so that you can, you can protect your business.”

Check in tomorrow where we honor New Orleans rocker Dr. John.

Roky Ericson Set List(all from YouTube)

The 13th Floor Elevators, “You’re Gonna Miss Me

The 13th Floor Elevators, “Roller Coaster

The 13th Floor Elevators, “Slip Inside This House

The 13th Floor Elevators, “(I’ve Got) Levitation

Roky Erickson and the Aliens, “Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)”

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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