We Need More than Commitments to End Forced Labor. We Need Action.

A Letter to G7 Trade Ministers

Dear G7 Trade Ministers,

As the leading group of democracies driving forward an ambitious agenda to confront global challenges, the G7 has an opportunity to lead by example in demonstrating that forced and child labor has no place in global markets. We applaud the recent work of G7 Leaders in affirming its commitment to ending forced labor in global supply chains. The G7 Trade Ministers meeting next month in Germany represents another opportunity to collectively reaffirm and demonstrate the G7’s commitment through concrete and decisive action.

Following expressed concern about forced labor in global supply chains by G7 Leaders in Carbis Bay in 2021, Trade Ministers met in September 2021 to begin a discussion about how to address this important human rights issue. We applaud Trade Ministers for the October 2021 statement that there is no room for forced labor in the rules-based multilateral trading system. In that same communication, Trade Ministers also made certain commitments to propel forward anti-forced labor policies and actions. Specifically, Trade Ministers committed to promoting guidance on human rights due diligence, promoting common definitions and guidance to collect and share data and evidence on forced labor, and facilitating compliance with international labor standards and international standards on responsible business conduct in global supply chains. Additionally, Trade Ministers committed to further collaborative work to protect individuals from forced labor, to ensure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor and that those who perpetrate forced labor are held accountable.

The upcoming meeting in Neuhardenberg presents an opportunity to move from commitment to action. To accelerate progress toward the goals articulated in October 2021, we call on G7 Trade Ministers to create a more formal, regular technical working group, comprised of States, multi-lateral institutions, representatives from labor and human rights organizations and importantly, individuals with lived experiences of forced or child labor, to share technical expertise, data and evidence and make specific recommendations. This group should be specifically tasked with making recommendations on how G7 states should:

  1. harmonize minimum legal and regulatory standards to address forced and child labor and suggest new legislative frameworks as necessary, including forced labor import bans and mandatory human rights due diligence regimes;
  2. create and strengthen mechanisms for robust information and data sharing;
  3. identify new financial resources to address human trafficking, forced and child labor, including funding for programs aimed at reducing vulnerability and strengthening grievance mechanisms, and provide support for workers in forced labor situations; and
  4. draft 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.

No one should reap profits off the back of forced or child laborers. Our organizations – representing survivor leaders, human and labor rights advocates, policy experts and researchers – stand ready and willing to fully participate in such a working group to share our expertise as requested and to make suggestions of other relevant participants. Thank you for your consideration and leadership.


Kristen Abrams
Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking, McCain Institute

James Kofi Annan
President, Challenging Heights

Chris Ash
Program Manager, National Survivor Network

Catherine R. Chen
CEO, Polaris

Joanna Ewart-James
Executive Director, Freedom United

Grace Forrest
Founding Director, Walk Free

Yuka Iwatsuki
President, Action Against Child Exploitation

Carolyn Kitto
Director, Be Slavery Free

Leigh LaChapelle
Associate Director of Survivor Advocacy, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

Shawn MacDonald
CEO, Verité

Jasmine O’Connor OBE
CEO, Anti-Slavery International

Sophie Otiende
CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery

Luke de Pulford
CEO, Arise

Philippe Sion
Managing Director, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking, Humanity United Action

Martina Vandenberg
Founder and President, The Human Trafficking Legal Center

Dan Vexler
Interim CEO, The Freedom Fund

Andrew Wallis OBE
CEO, Unseen UK

Bukeni Waruzi
Executive Director, Free the Slaves

Peter Williams
Principal Advisor, Modern Slavery, International Justice Mission

We need bold, intersectional thinking to fight forced labor and human trafficking.

Amol Mehra Joins Global Fund Board of Directors

The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is excited to share that Amol Mehra has been elected to the Fund’s Board of Directors.

Amol has a deep background in international human rights, and has proven expertise in building and scaling organizations and strategies that address complex global challenges, including around business and human rights and modern slavery. He is currently the Director of Industry Transformation at Laudes Foundation, where he oversees programs relating to transformation of industries, including fashion and the built environment, to address the dual crises of inequality and climate change.

Amol’s Full Bio

Amol’s expertise and entrepreneurial background will be vital to the Fund as it continues to grow, adapt, and tackle new and rising vulnerabilities.

Mehra shared, “The crises expanding around us relating to COVID, conflict, and climate have devastating implications on human lives, including raising vulnerabilities and risks of exploitation and abuse to so many. We need bold, intersectional thinking to fight forced labor and human trafficking in ways that recognize the powerful root causes of these challenges: inequality, discrimination, poverty, marginalization and systems that lack accountability. I believe Sophie Otiende is the leader for this moment and I am thrilled to join the GFEMS Board to support her ambitious vision for a renewed, refocused GFEMS committed to intersectional thinking and leadership by those with lived experience.”

Chair of the Board Dr. Jean Baderschneider echoed Mehra. “Amol is going to be a crucial member of this team going forward. His leadership will be key to building stronger partnerships across the sector and to building this field into a true movement. With Sophie Otiende leading GFEMS and elevating modern slavery on the global agenda, we are very excited to have Amol join the Board to support our effort to strategically refocus GFEMS.”

The Global Fund is working to create a unified effort against modern slavery. We are committed to catalyzing a new direction with the sector. For updates on our efforts, subscribe to our newsletter.

Questions regarding this announcement may be sent to media@gfems.org

GFEMS secures two new corporate partners, expands to Malaysia and Indonesia

The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery Announces New Program to Support Migrant Workers in Malaysia, Indonesia

The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is excited to announce a new partnership with a corporate foundation to create safer migration pathways for migrant workers in Malaysia and Indonesia. The foundation’s $1.2 million commitment will empower more workers with tools and knowledge to migrate safely and will engage businesses to promote ethical recruitment and fair labor practices.

An estimated 200,000 workers in Malaysia face conditions of exploitation and forced labor. As a result of these challenges, Malaysia recently downgraded to the lowest ranking in the U.S. Department of State 2021 Trafficking In Persons report. 

The Fund’s new program will expand support for migrant workers to Malaysia, reaching over one thousand migrants, to empower workers, support safe migration, and expand opportunities for decent work. With partners ELEVATE, Diginex, and Winrock, GFEMS will launch SafeStep, a best-in-class mobile app providing resources and information for migrant workers, in Malaysia. This program builds on an initial $1.3 million, two-year investment during which GFEMS and ELEVATE developed and piloted SafeStep with workers migrating from Bangladesh to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This pilot revealed the potential for safer migration when migrants are equipped with reliable and accessible information. This additional investment will enable SafeStep to expand to Malaysia, supporting user growth in Bangladesh and expanding functionality for employers. This effort will also be boosted by a $450,000 investment by The Walt Disney Company supporting development of a grievance mechanism for workers in Malaysia. 

The program will also support the growth of Pinkcollar, an ethical recruitment startup in Malaysia that places overseas workers in safe jobs without charging any fees. With this support, Pinkcollar will expand their operations to Indonesia, supporting more migrants to find safe employment and deepening the business case for the ethical recruitment models needed to disrupt forced labor. To tell the story of how these efforts can improve the migration journey for workers across Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, GFEMS will partner with DAWNING to conduct a longitudinal study of Pinkcollar and SafeStep’s work and produce a compelling multimedia report.

“The Fund is proud to expand this innovative program that empowers migrant workers to make informed decisions, as well as contribute to ethical and sustainable businesses. This investment will allow us to scale up promising interventions and launch in new places. Ultimately, we aim to create breakthroughs by changing exploitative industry standards.”

— Helen Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery

To learn more about our ethical recruitment work, please visit our portfolio. Click here to learn more about our partners. Any inquiries regarding this announcement may be sent to media@gfems.org.

“For predators and human traffickers, the war in Ukraine is not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity”

-António Guterres, UN Secretary General-

The War in Ukraine and the Risks of Human Trafficking

In a recent post marking one month of war in Ukraine, UNICEF included an illustration of a man walking hand in hand with a child. The child is bundled in scarf and hood and carries a small bag on her back. The man also dons a heavy coat and a toboggan cap, another sign of war’s harsh reality. But on his back, there is no bag. Instead, the man carries a house. Strapped to his back, the house dangles roots as if it was just plucked from the ground. In the truest sense, this is life for the millions who are fleeing war in Ukraine.

Illustration posted on UNICEF’s Twitter account, March 24, 2022.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, more than 3.5 million have left Ukraine, seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Poland has received the majority of these refugees, accepting more than 2 million in just a month. Another 6.5 million are internally displaced, meaning they have fled to safer areas within war-torn Ukraine. For these millions of men, women, and children, there is no more school, no more day at the office, no more knowing what comes tomorrow. There is just surviving. Carrying only what can fit on one’s back, most do not know where they are going or when they will return, if ever. Separated from home, from networks of support, and often from family, refugees must put their trust in people they have never met. While the world has rallied to support Ukrainian refugees, there are some who see the war as an opportunity- an opportunity to profit from the chaos, to prey on those displaced, and to exploit the most vulnerable as they search for safety and security. It is a fate that is hard to imagine, but one that millions of Ukrainians are enduring right now.

It is well known that traffickers target vulnerable populations, and in terms of vulnerability, refugees appear an easy target. They often lack basic resources like food and shelter even as they are cut off from systems and networks on which they rely for support. Those that cross the border may not speak the language. In Ukraine, it is primarily women and children who have fled. Men between the ages of 18 and 60 are expected to stay and fight and are therefore banned from leaving the country.

Images of mass exodus flooded the airwaves almost immediately after Russia invaded. Shortly thereafter, reports of trafficking and exploitation began to appear alongside these images. “For predators and human traffickers, the war in Ukraine is not a tragedy,” UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Twitter. “It’s an opportunity – and women and children are the targets.”

While the UN and other international organizations and governments have expressed concern that women and children fleeing Ukraine are at high risk of exploitation, stories from frontline workers and refugees confirm that this concern is well-founded. La Strada, an anti-trafficking NGO working in Warsaw, reports that Ukrainian girls are being offered plane tickets to places like Mexico and the UAE without ever having met the men offering them. In Poland, a man awaits sentencing for assaulting a 19-year old Ukrainian girl whom he had lured online with promises of shelter. Homo Faber, another NGO with a presence at the Poland –Ukraine border, notes an influx of men at one of Poland’s main train stations offering women and children safe accommodation in Germany. Women too, they note, have been spotted at transport hubs attempting to lure female refugees.

Among the most vulnerable groups fleeing Ukraine are unaccompanied children. Reports indicate that more than 500 unaccompanied children were identified as crossing from Ukraine into Romania from February 24 to March 17. It is likely that this number is much higher. Those working at the border know that unaccompanied children are “very easy prey,” as one described described it. “If you’re an adult with some food or refuge, they will come with you. They don’t know any better.”

Sophisticated trafficking networks have operated in Eastern Europe for decades, exacerbating the risks for women and children fleeing Ukraine. A 2020 human trafficking report by the European Commission cited sexual exploitation as the most common form of human trafficking in the European Union, noting that nearly three-quarters of all victims are female, with nearly every fourth victim a child. But sexual exploitation is not the only threat. Anti-trafficking groups are also seeing “worrying signs” as refugees are being offered shelter in exchange for services such as cleaning and babysitting- exchanges they fear could lead to exploitation.

More than a month into the crisis, there are better systems in place to reduce the risk that women and children fall victim to traffickers. More army and police officials are on site at border crossings to check the identity of volunteers and others offering support to refugees. UN agencies are partnering with governments and civil society organizations to set up “Blue Dots” -safe spaces that provide information and critical services to refugees- along border routes and in receiving countries. Vetting procedures have also improved. However, despite these efforts, the threat persists.

Even as most refugees are awaiting an end to the war so that they may return home, they must rely on others in the meantime- for food, for shelter, for safety and security. This increased vulnerability, wrought by war and displacement, continues to put millions of women and children at risk of trafficking and exploitation.

While the Global Fund does not currently support any programs in Ukraine or Eastern Europe, there are anti-trafficking organizations in the region working to prevent the exploitation of refugees, especially women and children. Some of these organizations are listed below. You can support them directly by clicking the links.

Anti-trafficking organizations

Homo Faber – Fighting for human rights at the local level. More on their efforts in Ukraine can be found on their Facebook page

La Strada International– working to prevent human trafficking and to protect and realize trafficked persons’ rights.

Hope for Justice– working to protect vulnerable refugees fleeing Ukraine, particularly unaccompanied children and those who are coming to the UK under the new Government scheme.

Stop the Traffik– implementing a Europe-wide prevention campaign

Organizations supporting children

UNICEF– providing children access to safe water, nutrition, health care, education and protection.

Voices of Children – providing psychological support for children and their families and helping them find shelter.

Save the Children Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund– providing children and families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance. 

Organizations supporting women

CARE Ukraine Crisis Fund –  providing immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance — prioritizing women and girls, families, and the elderly.

Ukrainian Women’s Fund– funds will be used to cover the urgent needs for water, food, medicine, hygiene, communication and other basic needs, with a focus on the most vulnerable groups of women and girls.

In addition, various outlets have compiled resources and lists of organizations supporting the humanitarian response in Ukraine. Two are linked below:

The Global Fund Welcomes Sophie Otiende as CEO

The Global Fund Welcomes Sophie Otiende as CEO

Sophie Otiende

Alex Thier is resigning as CEO of GFEMS, effective March 21, and the GFEMS Board and team thank him for his dedicated service. GFEMS Board member, Sophie Otiende, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. This is a powerful step in the anti-trafficking fight. Sophie begins her tenure on March 4 and will be supported by Helen Taylor who will focus on programmatic execution and delivery as the Fund’s Chief Operating Officer. In addition, until March 21, Alex will also be supporting a smooth transition to Sophie.

The GFEMS Board is engaged in dialogue regarding the need for a re-energized coalition and fresh collaboration as part of a broader strategy re-set with the field. In her role as CEO, Sophie Otiende will be leading this process.

GFEMS Board Chair, Jean Baderschneider stated on behalf of the Board, “We welcome Sophie Otiende’s leadership as CEO in this next phase. With her wealth of experience and global credibility as an advocate, teacher, and survivor leader, she brings a bold perspective and commitment to collaboration that is critical to the future of this fight. Our team has accomplished a great deal under Alex’s leadership and will continue to build on those efforts.” 

We must elevate modern slavery on the global agenda. The pandemic has shown the need for new approaches that can energize the field, build a foundation of renewed trust and credibility, and mobilize a growing coalition of diverse advocates, partners, and funders in the fight against slavery. Furthermore, the current geopolitical and climate crises will lead to massive humanitarian needs and may fuel human trafficking. Addressing these issues will require unified action.

While progress has been made and organizations around the world have shown tremendous resilience, too many of our efforts continue to be fragmented, siloed, and under-resourced. The field continues to compete for limited government and philanthropic funding while traffickers are making billions in illicit profits. This must change and the Fund is committed to catalyzing a new direction with the field.

Sophie Otiende shared, “I am thrilled and honored to be CEO of GFEMS. I view this as an opportunity to re-energize the anti-trafficking movement. As a survivor leader, I hope to bring fresh voices to this fight. We must get back to our roots. We are not here to fit in with the status quo. We are here to build a global fund and end modern slavery.”

The GFEMS Board and team thank Alex for his dedicated service to GFEMS. Our team has accomplished a great deal under his leadership, and we will continue to build on those efforts. Alex’s determination and enthusiasm have been an important asset. Over the next month, Alex will support a smooth transition to Sophie. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.

CEO Alex Thier testifies in front of U.S. House of Representatives

Alex Thier testifies at US House of Representatives

Alex Thier, CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), testified at the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 27 in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. Mr. Thier was joined by other leading experts in the anti-trafficking field; Ms. Evelyn Chumbow, Board of Directors at Free the Slaves, Ms. Catherine Chen, CEO of Polaris, and Mr. Peter Williams, Principal Advisor on Modern Slavery at International Justice Mission.

The hearing, focused on combatting global human trafficking, allowed GFEMS and other anti-slavery leaders to share the status and progress of global efforts, latest insights on the prevalence of modern slavery, and what the U.S. can do to increase its leadership. GFEMS is grateful for Committee Chair Rep. Karen Bass, Vice Chair Rep. Ilan Omar, and Ranking Member Rep. Chris Smith for inviting us to this hearing. We look forward to future opportunities to share our knowledge and expertise with the U.S. Congress.

Commitments are not enough. It is time for action.

Karen Bradley, MP and GFEMS CEO call for leaders to take action

As we prepare to mark Anti-Slavery Day and the trade ministers of the world’s largest economies arrive in London, we face a stark truth: forced labour is pervasive across our economies and supply chains.

There are an estimated 25 million people in the world who are victims of forced labour exploitation, and evidence suggests this number is rising. These crimes taint tens of billions of pounds worth of everyday goods that make up our diets and daily routines, from coffee and chocolate to mobile phones and the clothes we wear.

The good news is that people are demanding change — and many governments and corporations are responding. Last June, at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, leaders committed to work together to “protect individuals from forced labour and to ensure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labour”.

Many nations are passing new laws, ranging from modern slavery acts to mandatory due diligence laws and import bans, to prevent the trade in goods and services made using forced labour. Corporations, too, are making commitments to increase the transparency of their supply chains, and investors are realising that not only is modern slavery morally wrong, it is a material, financial risk to their portfolios.

But commitments are not enough. It is time for action. Time to get practical. That is why we have joined anti-slavery leaders from around the world to write to the G7 trade ministers calling for action to make these commitments a reality.

The trade ministers were tasked by their leaders to “identify areas for strengthened cooperation and collective efforts towards eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour in global supply chains”. We know the problem. We have political commitments to deal with it. And we have proven solutions.

First, G7 counties must work together to agree legal frameworks that are complementary and collaborative. We should harmonise minimum legal and regulatory standards on forced labour.

This should include all members prohibiting the import, export or internal sale of goods and merchandise made or transported wholly or in part by forced labour, as well as mandating that companies operating in their jurisdiction conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their operations and supply chains, in line with UN guiding principles.

Second, G7 countries should agree that any future trade agreement, trade preference programme or other trade tools must contain provisions specifically prohibiting the use of forced labour. It should also include punishment for violations. To ensure that our lower-income trading partners can be part of the solution, G7 nations should provide support to partners to help achieve these standards and facilitate trade that remains free of forced labour.

Third, the G7 should commit to recognising that any forced labour-related import, export or internal sale prohibition imposed by one member country is applied across all member countries. Such a step would dramatically lower the costs and barriers to effective and timely action. This bold move will require the creation and strengthening of mechanisms for robust information and data-sharing, as well as the development of common criteria and methods based on best practices.

Fourth, G7 nations should use all available instruments, including public procurement policies and their leadership in multilateral institutions, to prevent forced labour in global supply chains, including within the digital economy.

Fifth, the G7 must make additional commitments to assist people who have been victimised by forced labour, whether at home or abroad. These programmes must be designed with the meaningful input of affected workers and survivors and should be based on common principles for assisting those who have been harmed, including for rehabilitation and remediation purposes.

We will never build back better or achieve sustainability on the back of slave labour. We are confident that these five steps, taken together, could make significant strides in reducing forced labour, supporting survivors and ending impunity for traffickers. It is time to translate broad principles into the specific policy and resource commitments to achieve these objectives.

Karen Bradley is co-chairwoman of the all party parliamentary group on human trafficking and modern slavery; Alex Thier is chief executive of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery

New partnership supports expansion to new sector and new geography.

GFEMS announces new award to fight forced labor in Brazil

The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is launching a new partnership with the Program to End Modern Slavery at the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons targeting labor trafficking in the coffee supply chain in Brazil.

Comprehensive Action towards Forced labor Eradication (CAFE) aims to reduce forced labor in Brazil’s coffee industry, the largest in the world. CAFE will focus on the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s top coffee producing region. The coffee industry has more cases of forced labor reported than any other industry in the country. Large-scale raids by authorities in recent years demonstrates a widespread problem.

The CAFE partnership seeks to create large-scale change by combining focus on protection, prosecution, and survivor inclusion. GFEMS is proud to team up again with ELEVATE to identify and address labor abuses on coffee farms. And we are excited to work with new partners. In collaboration with Stanford University’s Human Trafficking Data Lab, we will be developing, testing, and rolling out an innovative machine learning-based tool to model trafficking risks, supporting Brazilian authorities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of labor prosecutions. Instituto Trabalho Decente also joins the partnership to guide development of both activity streams and embed the tools developed with local stakeholders. GFEMS will ensure the CAFE partnership is survivor-centered through the formation of a new Expert Advisory Council, anchored by Survivor Advisors.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this exciting new partnership with the US State Department,” said the Fund’s CEO Alex Thier. “Working with Brazilian authorities, survivors, and civil society leaders to disrupt forced labor in the coffee industry is exactly why the Global Fund exists. Bringing together world class partners like Stanford University, ELEVATE, and Instituto Trabalho Decente with Brazilian leaders is the key to changing the systems that perpetuate these crimes and eradicating forced labor from global supply chains.”

The launch of CAFE marks the growth of the successful partnership between the US State Department and GFEMS, building on highly impactful investments across Asia and East Africa. GFEMS is grateful for the continued support and partnership of the State Department, and all of our global partners, in our mission to end modern slavery. You can read more about our innovative programs and research to end commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in many industries, end impunity for traffickers, and support survivors here.

Questions about this announcement may be sent to media@gfems.org.

This press release was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

It’s time to #TransformTrade. Our letter to the G7 Trade Ministers:

G7 Trade Ministers: Fulfilling Commitments to Ending Forced Labour

Dear Ministers, 

We are writing to provide recommendations for how the G7 can build upon the commitments it made in Cornwall, 2021, to address forced labour in global supply chains and in the digital economy. We were pleased to see forced labour highlighted in the Carbis Bay G7 Communiqué as an important issue warranting collective action by G7 countries. 

Forced labour is pervasive across industries and supply chains, and can be found across the globe. There are an estimated 25 million people in the world being exploited in forced labour and human trafficking, and evidence suggests this number could be growing as a result of a number of global challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Egregious examples of state-sponsored forced labour and horrific human rights abuses within China have been well documented. Traffickers make an estimated $150 billion from this crime, which also is linked to corruption, environmental degradation, discrimination, instability and dangerous, unregulated migration. 

As Trade Ministers, you were tasked in the Carbis Bay G7 Communiqué to “identify areas for strengthened cooperation and collective efforts towards eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour in global supply chains.” Below are five specific recommendations of efforts and commitments G7 countries could make to advance efforts to eliminate forced labour and human trafficking from global supply chains.

  1. G7 members should harmonize minimum legal and regulatory standards to address forced labour across the G7 and adopt new legislative frameworks as necessary. Such harmonization should include all members prohibiting the import, export or internal sale of goods and merchandise made or transported wholly or in part by forced labour, and mandating companies operating in their jurisdiction conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their operations and supply chains, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Increased accountability for and partnership with private sector actors to take aggressive steps to eradicate forced labour from within their own supply chains will be essential. 
  2. G7 countries should affirm that any future trade agreement, trade preference program or other trade tools employed by a G7 country must contain provisions specifically prohibiting the use of forced labour and require minimum compliance standards, including due diligence criteria, for the elimination of human trafficking and forced labour which include prohibiting and punishing these acts. G7 nations should also provide support to lower income trading partners to help achieve these standards and facilitate trade free of forced labour. 
  3. G7 members should commit to recognizing any forced labour-related import, export or internal sale prohibition of one G7 country as prohibited in all G7 countries. To support the principle of mutual recognition of forced labour prohibitions, G7 members should commit to creating and strengthening mechanisms for robust information and data sharing as well as the development of common criteria and methods based on best practices. 
  4. Building off commitments made by G7 leaders in Cornwall, 2021, G7 nations should further commit to use domestic means, including public procurement policies, and multilateral institutions to prevent forced labour in global supply chains, including within the digital economy. Members should look to previously agreed upon principles for guidance, such as the right to work and freedom of association found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 
  5. The G7 should commit new financial resources to addressing human trafficking and forced labour, including the commitment of resources to assist people who have been victimized by forced labour or human trafficking in global supply chains. Members should develop specific recommendations on best practices for assisting those who have been harmed, including for rehabilitation and remediation purposes, which should be designed with the meaningful participation of affected workers and survivors. Specific attention should be paid to any harmful and unintended consequences that result from government or private sector actions to address forced labour, including the displacement of people employed by businesses sanctioned for forced labour. 

“Eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour in global supply chains,” will be a significant undertaking, and we believe these five provisions, if implemented, would enable serious progress. It is also important to highlight that while forced labour within global supply chains is a significant issue, it is one part of the larger issues of human trafficking and modern slavery. We strongly encourage you to advocate within your respective governments for all ministries – including trade, development and labour ministries – to play an active role in fighting modern slavery within their respective purviews. 

The G7 can play a critical role on these important issues, and we look forward to working with each of you to realize the goal of ending forced labour. To that end, we’d like to request a meeting to discuss these suggestions and other commitments you may be planning in detail.


Kristen Abrams 
Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU 

James Kofi Annan
Founder and President, Challenging Heights

Ambassador (ret.) Luis C.deBaca 
Senior Fellow in Modern Slavery, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University 

Shawna Bader-Blau 
Executive Director, Solidarity Center 

Anna Canning
Campaign Manager, Fair World Project

Christine Carolan
Executive Officer, ACRATH

Catherine R. Chen 
CEO, Polaris 

Kristi Davidson
CEO, Offspring

Minh Dang 
Executive Director, Survivor Alliance 

Blaise Desbordes 
CEO, Max Havelaar, France 

Luke de Pulford
Director, Arise

Joanna Ewart-James
Executive Director, Freedom United

Nick Grono 
CEO, The Freedom Fund 

Christian Guy 
CEO, Justice and Care 

Peter Hugh Smith
Chief Executive, CCLA Investment Management

Yuka Iwatsuki
President and Co-Founder, Action against Child Exploitation

Fuzz Kitto 
Co-Director, Be Slavery Free 

Melissa Lipset
Acting CEO, Baptist World Aid Australia

Shawn MacDonald
CEO, Verité

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne 
Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking; Senate of Canada

Kathrine Mulhern
CEO, Restitution 

Dr. Nyagoy Nyong
CEO, Fairtrade Global

Jasmine O’Connor OBE 
CEO, Anti-Slavery International 

Philippe Sion 
Managing Director, Forced labour & Human Trafficking, Humanity United Action 

Patrick Quinlan
CEO, Convercent

Jennifer Rosenbaum
Executive Director, Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum

Charity Ryerson
Executive Director, Corporate Accountability Lab

Akiko Sato
Deputy Secretary General, Human Rights Now

Puvan Selvanathan
CEO & Founder, Bluenumber, Inc

Nina Smith 
CEO, GoodWeave International 

Alex Thier 
CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery 

Kevin Thomas 
CEO, Shareholder Association for Research & Education 

Martina Vanderberg 
President, The Human Trafficking Legal Center 

Andrew Wallis OBE 
CEO, Unseen

Bukeni Waruzi
Executive Director, Free the Slaves

Kerry Weste
President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Pichamon Yeophantong
Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales

Want to share your support for action against trafficking and modern slavery?

Share this letter and use #TransformTrade on social media.

Questions regarding this letter may be sent to media@gfems.org

Related Content