Forced labour has been a pervasive problem throughout Brazil over the years. In 2018, over 81,000 people were saved from forced labour in the country. To further combat this human rights issue, the Ministry of Labour and the NGO Repórter Brasil publish a biannual report of the companies that engage in slave labour, the “dirty list” (lista suja).
Through the use of blockchain technologies, the Alinha Institute aims to eradicate the problem even further—by informing customers of whether their clothing was produced in a workshop that abides by humane work practices.
The Brazilian non-profit organisation helps workshop owners regularise their business. Institute workers visit the workshops, design a personalised action plan, and assist with its implementation. The plan is based on a technical report offering guidance in formalisation, infrastructure, electrical installations, organisation, occupational health and safety and labour relations.
While over 230 businesses are linked to the organisation, and the Alinha Institute has regularised over 100 workshops in five years, the organsation launched the blockchain-based Alinha Tag project in response to the need to track individual pieces of clothing, as reported by Valor Económico.
“Our focus is the huge amount of illegal, invisible and precarious workshops in the fashion sector,” said Dariele Jamile dos Santos, founder of the Alinha Institute, as reported in Brazil’s Cointelegraph.
Once businesses have registered for the programme, the Alinha Tag technology follows their clothing items from the workshop to their customers. Employees can then to input data directly on their phones regarding how they are treated at work.
“Before designing the system, we researched which phone model the couturiers had, to take into account screen size, memory, operating systems,” Dariele told Valor Investe. “Most were used to Facebook, so we use it for inspiration.”
When customers purchase clothes displaying the Alinha Tag, they can insert their information on the website to get more information.
“Transparency, decentralisation and the digital signature make everything reliable,” Dariele said. “Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of these workers.”