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

A Letter to G7 Trade Ministers

  • Supply Chain Management
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    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

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