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In a new report, supply-chain analyst firm Verisk Maplecroft predicts that the rise in robot manufacturing will have a knock-on effect that results not only in lost livelihoods but in a spike in slavery and labour abuses in brand supply chains.
Earlier this year, the UN International Labour Organisation predicted that 56 percent of workers in south Asia’s key manufacturing hubs in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam could lose their jobs over the next two decades due to automation.
“There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of robot automation on jobs but less on the resulting human rights abuses that are likely to follow,” said Alex Channer, analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.
“We know that in a couple of decades, robot manufacturing will replace many low-skill jobs. Displaced workers without the skills or capacity to adapt will have to compete for a rapidly diminishing supply of low-paid work in potentially exploitative conditions. This will lead to increased risks of slavery and trafficking across a region already vulnerable to these kind of abuses.”
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