Earlier this week, the International Labor Organization, the International Organization for Migration and the non-government organization Walk Free released the much-anticipated Global Estimates of Modern Slavery report, finding that 28 million people are trapped in conditions of forced labor globally, including 3.3 million children. These numbers represent a significant increase in forced labor since the last report six years ago and underscore the urgent need for a coordinated suite of activities by a diverse group of stakeholders to address the root causes of forced labor.
We welcome the important efforts recently announced by our national and multinational partners to address this fundamental human rights abuse. Significantly, we call attention to and applaud the recent statement from the United States, Japan and the European Union committing to “eradicating all forms of forced labor, including state-sponsored forced labor, from our rules-based multilateral trading system, and resolv[ing] to strengthen national and international efforts to meet this commitment.” This historic trilateral statement follows other important announcements this week, including the European Union’s proposal to ban all products tainted with forced labor from entering that single market and Japan’s announcement to mandate human rights due diligence in supply chains for Japanese companies, making it the first country in Asia with such legislation. We also applaud the steadfast leadership of the United States in enforcing Section 307 of the Tariff Act, signing into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act earlier this year and continuing to advocate for new efforts to address forced labor through a range of trade and other mechanisms.
We look forward to working with all committed parties and call on national governments and multilateral organizations to engage civil society partners, and, importantly, survivors and those with lived experiences, to accelerate progress toward eradicating forced and child labor. We reiterate our call for the G7 to work towards (1) harmonizing minimum legal and regulatory standards, (2) creating and strengthening mechanisms for robust information and data sharing, (3) identifying new financial resources to address human trafficking, forced and child labor, and (4) drafting specific language for inclusion in all future trade agreements to which a G7 member is a party prohibiting the use of forced and child labor and requiring minimum due diligence and compliance standards.
Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking, McCain Institute at Arizona State University
CEO, Freedom Fund
CEO, Justice and Care
CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery
Managing Director, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, Humanity United Action