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:
- 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;
- create and strengthen mechanisms for robust information and data sharing;
- 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
- 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.
Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking, McCain Institute
James Kofi Annan
President, Challenging Heights
Program Manager, National Survivor Network
Catherine R. Chen
Executive Director, Freedom United
Founding Director, Walk Free
President, Action Against Child Exploitation
Director, Be Slavery Free
Associate Director of Survivor Advocacy, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
Jasmine O’Connor OBE
CEO, Anti-Slavery International
CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery
Luke de Pulford
Managing Director, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking, Humanity United Action
Founder and President, The Human Trafficking Legal Center
Interim CEO, The Freedom Fund
Andrew Wallis OBE
CEO, Unseen UK
Executive Director, Free the Slaves
Principal Advisor, Modern Slavery, International Justice Mission