(CNN) – From Coca-Cola to Microsoft, some of the most recognizable brands in the world of business have joined forces in the fight against human trafficking and slavery.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 21 million people are currently trapped in slavery, with almost every country on the planet affected, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Many of these victims are children, often caught up in sex trafficking and prostitution.
Now a group of corporate titans have decided to take action by forming the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gBCAT).
The roll call of blue-chip businesses involved is diverse as it is impressive and includes Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil and Delta Airlines, ManpowerGroup, Carlson, LexisNexis, NXP, Microsoft and Travelport.
Capitalizing on their combined expertise, resources and global reach, the group hopes to tackle issues such as sex trafficking – especially the commercial exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry – by raising awareness among consumers, suppliers and partners.
One of the key strategies is to develop and share best practices for addressing the vulnerability of businesses to human trafficking in their operations.
"Fully engaging the corporate community is a critical step in the war to end modern day slavery,” said David Arkless, President, Global Corporate and Government Affairs, ManpowerGroup and co-chair of gBCAT.
“Human trafficking is a global problem which can only be eradicated by mobilizing global solutions. Corporations need to take action, get involved and become part of the solution.”