12 Nov 2019
Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains
By adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has committed to end child labour by 2025 and forced labour and human trafficking by 2030. According to the latest global estimates, 152 million children are in child labour and 25 million adults and children are in forced labour, including in global supply chains. To achieve SDG target 8.7, governments, business, social partners, the financial sector and civil society must take strong action to address the root causes and determinants of these human rights violations at work. Global supply chains have the potential to generate growth, employment, skill development and technological transfer. Nevertheless, decent work deficits and human rights violations, including child labour, forced labour and human trafficking, have been linked to global supply chains. All actors operating in this context have a responsibility to ensure that these human rights violations at work are addressed.
This report presents the joint research findings and conclusions on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking linked to global supply chains from the ILO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), under the aegis of the Alliance 8.7. It is the first attempt by international organizations to measure child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains.
The report responds to the Ministerial Declaration of the July 2017 meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) Labour and Employment Ministers, asking “the International Organisations in cooperation with the Alliance 8.7 for a joint report containing proposals on how to accelerate action to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, forced labour and modern slavery in global supply chains including identifying high risk sectors, and how to support capacity building in the countries most affected”. It also responds to the Buenos Aires Declaration on Child Labour, Forced Labour and Youth Employment, November 2017, which called for “research on child labour and forced labour and their root causes … pay[ing] particular attention to supply chains”.
This report seeks to inform public and business policies and practices in order to prevent child labour, forced labour and human trafficking linked to global supply chains. It also recognizes the multidimensional nature of these violations and the smart policy mix necessary to address them. It considers not only the risk factors and policy interventions related to addressing the vulnerability of people, but also the unique complexity of global supply chains that can hide abuse and the links with informality and labour migration.
The report is divided into two parts. PART 1, Understanding child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains, presents empirical evidence on the prevalence and an array of risk factors related to child labour, forced labour and human trafficking linked to global supply chains. In particular, it looks at how, in the absence of strong law enforcement, the socio-economic vulnerability of individuals and workers, along with economic and commercial pressures facing suppliers within global supply chains, can in combination lead to abuses. PART 2, Responding to child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains, provides two policy perspectives. On the one hand, it provides a comprehensive overview of the State’s duty to regulate and implement legal frameworks to protect workers and mitigate the vulnerability to abuse, and to provide access to remedies with good practices and policy tools; and, on the other hand, it presents the necessary smart policy mix to facilitate and incentivize responsible business conduct in global supply chains.