Date of Graduation

Fall 12-14-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Kathleen Kelly Janus


The goal of this paper is to answer the question of whether California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) is an effective mechanism for addressing forced labor in global supply chains. SB 657 applies to 3200 companies doing business in the state of California. The law demands that companies within its scope provide public disclosures on what they have done to eliminate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains. The purpose of the disclosure is to educate consumers in hopes of motivating them to make ethical purchasing choices and to support companies with progressive supply chain management policies. This paper, however, will argue that SB 657 is insufficient because the vagueness of its language gives companies a significant degree of flexibility over the kind of information they publicize, preventing consumers form obtaining accurate knowledge of corporate social responsibility practices. I will use data gatherer by Free2Work, a consumer education nonprofit organization, and companies’ SB 657 disclosures to analyze the gaps in the law. I will also rely on Foucault’s theory of power and discourse to study how SB 657 unintentionally advantages corporations at the cost to consumers, suppliers and workers. The research’s findings will show that in order for SB 657 to successfully empower consumers and protect workers from human rights violations such as forced labor, the Act must demand better transparency through more specific disclosure requirements. SB 657 would be a more effective worker protection tool if it asked for disclosure on the systemic issues contributing worker inequality in supply chains.