Today Anti-Slavery International and La Strada International are launching the ‘Human rights due diligence: risks of modern slavery for displaced workers’ guidance. This guidance has been designed for businesses to support the employment of displaced people and address the risk of modern slavery in their value chains.
Modern slavery in the private sector is all too common and needs meaningful global action. Around the world, 17.3 million people are estimated to be in forced labour in the private sector, occurring across value chains all around the world. People who have been displaced by conflict are ever more vulnerable to human rights abuses such as forced labour and exploitation. These abuses may take place in the conflict affected area, along their migration route, or in their destination country. Businesses can do significantly more to prevent and mitigate the risk of exploitation to people displaced by conflict in their operations and value chains.
The sectors where the majority of adult forced labour takes place globally are the service industry, manufacturing, construction, agriculture (excluding fishing), and domestic work.
This guidance, launching 30 May 2023, demonstrates the need for heightened due diligence, using case studies of those countries receiving high numbers of people displaced by the ongoing war in Ukraine: Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Moldova, Poland and Romania. People who have already fled unimaginable conditions are at high risk of exploitation within the workplace due to vulnerabilities including language barriers and less knowledge of their rights.
Key recommendations for businesses to guide due diligence activities to prevent and remedy the exploitation of displaced people are to:
- Engage with your workers to understand their recruitment journey
- Check that the accommodation and transportation is safe and secure
- Provide workers with their contract before they start work and training on their rights
- Ensure that displaced workers are able to access a meaningful grievance mechanism, with an effective remediation process
- Share the guidance document with your teams and at least to all Tier 1 suppliers in your value chains
Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest human rights campaign, founded in 1839. It exists to challenge contemporary forms of slavery wherever they exist by tackling slavery’s root causes. Working in partnership with survivors, experts and its members, Anti-Slavery International manages projects in countries worldwide to help communities to understand and eliminate the causes and adverse effects of modern slavery, through legislative change, research and advocacy. Anti-Slavery International is a UK-registered charity (No. 1049160) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales (no. 3079904). For more information visit https://antislavery.org.
La Strada International: is a European NGO Platform against human trafficking, that works from a human rights perspective in support of trafficked persons. The platform aims to prevent human trafficking and to protect and realise trafficked persons’ rights. This is done by providing access to adequate assistance and support to victims, and via information and knowledge exchange, capacity building of NGOs and other stakeholders and cross-sectoral cooperation. For more information visit: https://www.lastradainternational.org.
Image credit: Faltrego Ltd. for Anti-Slavery International