The UK’s support to tackle forced labour goes above and beyond the Prime Minister’s £150 million commitment last year.
The Prime Minister’s Call to Action to end forced labour is now endorsed by 75 UN member states.
The UK and other donor countries launch new principles to eradicate human trafficking and forced labour from global supply chains.
Announcement of a £5million programme to support the Government of Bangladesh to deliver its commitment of eliminating hazardous child labour.
The UK will cement its position as a global leader in the fight against forced labour at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), galvanising international action to stamp out this vicious scourge and launching a range of projects to tackle child labour across Africa and Asia.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt yesterday [Monday 24 September] announced new protections for vulnerable children at risk of falling prey to child labour, including a £5million programme to support the Government of Bangladesh to deliver its commitment of eliminating the worst forms of child labour in the country.
The UK will commit extra support in the global fight against forced labour, taking UK spend to over £200 million to help create jobs, strengthen law enforcement, improve recruitment practices so people do not become victims and provide vital protections for those who do. UK aid is working to wipe out forced labour, which costs our economy an estimated £4.3 billion a year, at source and prevent onward trafficking to our shores.
Speaking ahead of the meeting in New York, Ms Mordaunt said:
“From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, the insidious virus of forced labour is infiltrating all aspects of our daily life without us even realising. Not only does it have a huge cost to the global and the UK’s economy, it is a shameful stain on our global conscience that must be eradicated for good.
“No one nation can banish this borderless crime alone. The international community must collaborate to dismantle predatory trafficking networks, support victims, strengthen justice systems and create sustainable alternative livelihoods.”
The UK alongside the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia will launch a joint framework for governments to eliminate trafficking and forced labour from global supply chains. As a collective the UK along with other countries will leverage their combined purchasing power – totalling more than $600 billion – to stamp out forced labour from the public and private sector, a crime which entraps an estimated 25 million people worldwide.
The UK’s leading stance will send a strong message that doing business with the UK requires you to act responsibly. With more than 60 per cent of forced labour victims in the private economy, Ms Mordaunt will also insist businesses step up efforts to eradicate the “insidious virus” of forced labour from their supply chains. By galvanising their support, the UK hopes to enhance transparency and duty of care across the global economy.
In the year since Prime Minister Theresa May launched the Global Call to Action at UNGA to eliminate forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, more than 75 UN members have signed up. Now, Ms Mordaunt will rally remaining members to do the right thing and join the global fight to eradicate these crimes which entrap over 40 million victims worldwide.
Shockingly, children make up a quarter of forced labour victims and our additional support will:
Tackle the worst forms of child labour through a major new programme across six countries in Asia. Working in partnership with UNICEF, the International Labour Organisation and the Institute of Development Studies, UK support will reduce the vulnerability of children to forced labour in hazardous industries such as agriculture and clamp down on the trafficking of children into commercial sex work. Interventions that tackle the drivers of child labour will be rolled out including cash transfer support for families affected.
As well as support to Africa and Asia to tackle at source, we are also stepping up our work to tackle slavery at home. The UK has committed to:
Reviewing the UK’s world-first Modern Slavery Act to ensure legislation is as robust and effective as possible.
Reforming the National Referral Mechanism to make sure that victims, particularly children, get the help and support they need to rebuild their lives after escaping the clutches of forced labour
Harnessing innovative technological solutions, such as our partnership with Provenance and Humanity United which uses blockchain technology to trace the origin of a product from source to sale. These transparent chains will create a virtuous circle, protecting workers, boosting consumer confidence and driving sales.