Civil society “red lines” on EU Forced Labour Regulation

new Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage

Sixteen European CSOs are urging Members of the European Parliament to strengthen the draft Forced Labour Regulation.

The EP INTA and IMCO committees will vote on the 19 September 2023 on the proposed regulation “on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market” (COM(2022) 453).

According to the International Labour Organization’s latest estimates, more than 27 million people in the world are in situations of forced labour. Forced labour is present in all economic sectors, including services, domestic work, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and on all continents. Between 2016 and 2021 there was also a notable increase, from 24,9 million to 27,6 million people worldwide.

Whilst other jurisdictions, such as the USA, already have legal tools to stop the importation and sale of products made with forced labour, the EU has today no such legislation. In effect, the EU single market risks being a dumping ground for forced labour products. This is why civil society organisations very much welcome the proposal by the European Commission and recommend a rapid legislative process in order to adopt this legislation before the EU Parliament elections scheduled for June 2024.

We believe, however, that the draft proposal can and should be considerably improved for the EU to contribute decisively to the global fight against forced labour.

Read our short “red lines” document, which summarises our main concerns and recommendations at this stage of the procedure here.