(b)States should develop, enact and update a national action plan on business and human rights in accordance with the guidance provided by the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. Measures outlined in the national action plan should take full advantage of the leverage home States have in order to effectively prevent, address and redress extraterritorial human rights harms of businesses domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction;
(c) To support effective implementation of domestic laws, States should strengthen their institutional frameworks and enforcement mechanisms across relevant structures, including labour inspectorates, the judiciary and prosecution, through provision of continued capacity-building, awareness-raising and adequate human and financial resources;
(d) In addition to adoption and effective enforcement of human rights and labour laws, such as those ensuring the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and providing for minimum labour standards, States bear a fundamental duty to address the preventive aspect of contemporary forms of slavery through tackling its root causes, including poverty, discrimination, stigmatization, inequality and social exclusion of groups most vulnerable to slavery and slavery-like practices, by adopting a human-rights based approach and incorporating a gender perspective;
(e) States must ensure that those affected by business-related human rights abuse, including victims of forced labour and other contemporary forms of slavery, have the right to an effective remedy by taking appropriate steps to ensure the effectiveness of judicial mechanisms, providing effective and appropriate non-judicial grievance mechanisms, facilitating access to effective non-State-based grievance mechanisms and reducing barriers that could deny access to remedy for victims;
(f) States are strongly encouraged to adopt effective legislation requiring transparency in supply chains, human rights due diligence throughout supply chains, public reporting and disclosures of businesses, as well as measures relating to procurement practices, and to guarantee its implementation;
(g) States should explicitly prohibit fraudulent and abusive recruitment practices that are one of the main causes of contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains and adopt measures to regulate recruitment;
(h) States should invest in research and collection and analysis of data on the scope and prevalence of contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains, specific commodities, sectors, the informal economy and in domestic production as the foundation for effective policy and strategy formulation by both public and private sector actors;
(i) Special attention of States should be given to the risk of contemporary forms of slavery in the informal economy, including by identifying at risk sectors and conducting effective labour inspections;
(j) States should consider different strategies to promote voluntary initiatives, especially multi-stakeholder public-private partnership platforms, which include Governments at all levels, civil society actors, including trade unions, business representatives and other stakeholders. These are crucial to effectively and holistically address contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains and can, inter alia, foster dialogue on policies to best tackle its root causes, provide an institutional framework to develop and implement supply chain strategies, grievance mechanisms and remediation, advocacy on legal and public policy reform, as well as to promote certification and independent investigation. Community- and area-based approaches, which do not target a single crop or commodity, are a key form of a partnership.
In relation to businesses, the Special Rapporteur recommends the following:
(a) Businesses should adopt human rights policy commitments and conduct continuous human rights due diligence in line with the framework established in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and include the findings of the latter in their policies and procedures aimed at eliminating contemporary forms of slavery from supply chains;
(b) Human rights policy commitments and supporting policies and procedures should be complemented by effective implementation which moves beyond auditing, and includes third party independent monitoring, proactive investigations, random unannounced assessments that prioritize confidential consultation with workers and strategies linked to prevention of unethical recruitment in supply chains;
(c) All businesses’ human rights policies and procedures and the systems to implement them should integrate measures reaching beyond the first tier in supply chains and include clear guidelines and indicators to assist those operating at the lower tiers and in the informal economy to identify human rights violations, including contemporary forms of slavery, and ensure compliance with international human rights standards;
(d) Transparency in supply chains is important for ensuring corporate accountability for human rights abuse. Businesses should publicly report on action undertaken to address their human rights impacts, including preventive and corrective measures, and share lessons learned and strategies for improvement;
(e) Businesses should provide for or cooperate in remediation by establishing or participating in an operational-level grievance mechanism, in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and cooperate with State-based judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms. The approach adopted by businesses in providing for a timely and effective remedy should be community-based and inclusive of, for example, public and/or non-governmental service providers with expertise in working with victims of contemporary forms of slavery;
(f) Gaps in national legislation and underdeveloped regulatory infrastructure can pose significant risks for contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains. To address this, businesses, working in partnership with business peers and other stakeholders or though representative industry and employer organizations, should engage public policy actors and regulators to encourage adoption of a relevant legal framework and effective law enforcement. Businesses, together with other stakeholders, also have an important role to play in addressing the root causes of contemporary forms of slavery;
(g) Business should engage in capacity-building to ensure management and staff, as well as the relevant business partner, awareness-raising on the nature and risks of contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains and the strategies for its eradication.
The Special Rapporteur would like to make the following recommendations to other stakeholders:
(a) International organizations and the donor community have an important role to play in providing a forum for stakeholder dialogue and partnership to address contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains and to empower communities. They are encouraged to assist the States and other actors, if needed, by providing technical assistance for research, capacity-building, remediation and for addressing root causes through human rights-based development and poverty reduction programmes;
(b) Investors should use their leverage to exercise pressure on businesses to respect human rights, raise awareness of the risks of slavery and slavery-like practices in supply chains, build capacity, invest in research and data collection and analysis, and ensure that businesses establish relationships with other relevant actors, including through multi-stakeholder platforms;
(c) Consumers should play a more active role in scrutinizing the origin of products and promoting ethical sourcing and other fair trade initiatives;
(d) Trade unions and their confederations have a key role to play in ensuring that the human rights of workers are complied with by States and businesses;
(e) Other civil society actors, including foundations, and academia, and the media should continue to conduct research, investigate and report on human rights violations in supply chains, highlight areas of non-compliance with international human rights norms and standards and call for an effective and prompt action by those responsible.
1 See www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Slavery/SRSlavery/Pages/ExpertMeeting2015.aspx.
2 See, for example, A/67/261 and A/HRC/23/48/Add.4.
3 These incidents continue to occur. The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development called for increased business accountability after 72 women workers burned to death in factory fire in the Philippines in May 2015 (www.apwld.org).
4 See Ending Exploitation, OSCE occasional paper series No.7, p.7. A United Nations Children’s Fund report (Children’s Rights and Business Principles, p. 9) explains that the value chain of a business “encompasses the activities that convert inputs into outputs by adding value. It includes entities with which the business has a direct or indirect business relationship and which either a) supply products or services that contribute to the business’s own products or services [a ‘supply chain’], or b) receive products or services from the business” (conventionally known as a production chain).
5 See Leaders’ Declaration, G7 Summit, 7–8 June 2015, pp. 4–6, https://www.g7germany.de/Content/EN/_Anlagen/G7/2015-06-08-g7-abschluss-eng_en.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=1. See also International Trade Union Confederation statement, available at www.ituc-csi.org/international-union-bodies-welcome.
6 In the Covenant and the Universal Declaration, it is stipulated that no one shall be held in servitude, although in neither of the instruments is that term defined.
7 At the time of writing, the Protocol was not yet in force but had been ratified by the Niger on 14 May 2015.
8 Recommendation on Supplementary Measures for the Effective Suppression of Forced Labour, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 103rd session, Geneva, 11 June 2014.
9 See, for example, FairFood International, “Caught in a Trap – the story of poverty behind Asian shrimp sold in European supermarkets” (2015). Available at www.fairfood.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Caught-in-a-trap.pdf.
10 For example, in relation to the sourcing of conflict minerals, where the public furore resulted in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (adopted in May 2011 and amended in July 2012).
11 A comprehensive database of reported cases, including companies’ responses, can be found on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre website (www.business-humanrights.org).
12 See ILO, “Global Estimate of Forced Labour: Results and methodology” (2012).
13 ILO, “Marking Progress against Child Labour: Global Estimates and Trends 2000–2012” (2013), pp. 3 and 32.
14 ILO, “Implementing the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016: a training guide for policymakers” (2013), p. 9.
15 Various advocacy initiatives have addressed forced labour in cotton-picking in Uzbekistan. See, for example, Anti-Slavery International (www.antislavery.org); the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, “The Government’s Riches, the People’s Burden: Human Rights Violations in Uzbekistan’s 2014 Cotton Harvest” (2015) (www.antislavery.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2015/2/2014_cotton_harvest_report.pdf); and the OECD, “Annual Report on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 2012” on examples of complaints regarding sourcing of Uzbek cotton made to national contact points, and how these were addressed (http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/mne-2012-en).
16 For example, www.verite.org/Commodities.
17 See, for example, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and India Committee of the Netherlands, “Flawed Fabrics: the abuse of girls and women workers in the South Indian textile industry” (2014) (www.indianet.nl/FlawedFabrics.html); Anti-Slavery International, “Slavery on the high street: forced labour in the manufacture of garments for international brands” (2012) (www.antislavery.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2012/s/1_slavery_on_the_high_street_june_2012_final.pdf).
18 See Siddharth Kara, Tainted carpets Slavery and Child Labor in India’s Hand-Made Carpet Sector (2014, Harvard University).
19 See, for example, Human Rights Watch, “Migrant Workers’ Rights on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates” (2015) (www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/
uae0215_ForUploadR.pdf); Business and Human Rights Centre, “Labour rights and the Qatar World Cup 2022” (http://business-humanrights.org/en/major-sporting-events/labour-rights-and-the-qatar-world-cup-2022); and Human Rights Watch, “Building a Better World Cup Protecting Migrant Workers in Qatar Ahead of FIFA 2022” (2012) (www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/12/building-better-world-cup).
20 ILO referred to the response of a major United States electronics company to allegations of forced labour in factories in China in its publication Combating Forced Labour: A Handbook for Employers & Business, Good Practice Case Studies, Part 7 (2008), pp. 5–7. See also China Labor Watch, “Is Samsung Infringing Upon Apple’s Patent to Bully Workers?” (2012) (www.chinalaborwatch.org/upfile/2012_9_4/Samsung%20Report%200904-v3.pdf) and “Beyond Foxconn: Deplorable Working Conditions Characterize Apple’s Entire Supply Chain” (2012) (www.chinalaborwatch.org/upfile/2012_8_13/2012627-5.pdf); and Verité, “Forced Labor in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Study of Scope and Characteristics” (2014) (www.verite.org/sites/default/files/images/VeriteForcedLaborMalaysian
See, for example, ILO, Caught at sea: forced labour and trafficking in fisheries (2013) (www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_214472.pdf); Environmental Justice Foundation, Slavery at Sea: the continued plight of trafficked migrants in Thailand’s fishing industry (2014) (http://ejfoundation.org/sites/default/files/public/EJF_Slavery-at-Sea_report_2014_web-ok.pdf).
Robin McDowell and others, “Slavery taints global supply of seafood: AP investigation”, Washington Times, 25 March 2015 (www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/25/slavery-taints-global-supply-seafood).
See A/HRC/18/30. See also Human Rights Watch, “Precious Metal, Cheap Labor – Child Labor and Corporate Responsibility in Ghana’s Artisanal Gold Mines” (2015) (www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ghana0515_forinsertLR2.pdf); Stop Child Labour and India Committee of the Netherlands, Rock Bottom: modern slavery and child labour in South Indian granite quarries (2015) (www.indianet.nl/RockBottom.html); Verité, “Risk Analysis of Indicators of Forced Labor and Human Trafficking in Illegal Gold Mining in Peru” (2013) (www.verite.org/sites/default/files/images/IndicatorsofForcedLaborinGoldMininginPeru.pdf); and ILO, “Buried in Bricks: A rapid assessment of bonded labour in brick kilns in Afghanistan” (2012) (www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_172671.pdf).
For example, www.verite.org/Commodities/Timber.
In the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which operationalize Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights, the different roles and responsibilities of States (first pillar) and businesses (second pillar) to address their impact on human rights and the access to remedy for business-related human rights abuse (third pillar) are clarified.
For a detailed analysis of different regulatory frameworks, see International Corporate Accountability Roundtable report, “Human Rights Due Diligence: The role of States” (2012) (http://icar.ngo/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Human-Rights-Due-Diligence-The-Role-of-States.pdf).
It is widely acknowledged that the provisions for transparency in supply chains were inserted largely owing to advocacy conducted by the Ethical Trading Initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership of businesses, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, covering over 70 companies and in 2015 reaching nearly 10 million workers across the globe.
Available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/pdfs/ukpga_20150030_en.pdf.
See Anti-Slavery International, www.antislavery.org/english/press_and_news/news_and_press_releases_2009/analysis_of_modern_slavery_act.aspx.
Available at www.state.gov/documents/organization/164934.pdf.
See Verité, “Compliance is Not Enough: best practices in responding to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act” (2011) (www.verite.org/sites/default/files/VTE_WhitePaper_California_Bill657FINAL5.pdf), and the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, “Beyond SB 657: How Businesses Can Meet and Exceed California’s Requirement to Prevent Forced Labour in Supply Chains” (2013) (www.genderprinciples.org/resource_files/ATEST_Report_Beyond_SB657_final.pdf).
Available at https://www.congress.gov/113/bills/hr4842/BILLS-113hr4842ih.pdf.
Text No. 376 (2014–2015),available at www.senat.fr/leg/ppl14-376.pdf.
See Repórter Brasil and SOMO, From Moral responsibility to legal liability — modern day slavery conditions in the global garment supply chain and the need to strengthen regulatory frameworks: the case of Inditex-Zara in Brazil (2015) (www.cleanclothes.org/resources/national-cccs/from-moral-responsibility-to-legal-liability).
Law No. 14.946/2013, available at www.al.sp.gov.br/repositorio/legislacao/lei/2013/lei-14946-28.01.2013.html.
United States Department of Labor, list of goods produced with child labor or forced labor, available at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/.
Under Executive Order No. 13126 of 1999 on prohibition of acquisition of products produced by forced or indentured child labor and available at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-products/index-country.htm.
Available at www.dol.gov/ilab/about/laws/pdf/20000518TDA.pdf.
Available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1314/text.
See David Abramowitz, “Trade legislation can help stop human trafficking”, The Hill, 10 June 2015 (http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/244538-trade-legislation-can-help-stop-human-trafficking).
See Frequently asked questions about the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.XIV.6), p. 27. Available from www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FAQ_PrinciplesBussinessHR.pdf.
See ibid., p. 32.
See section F.
For more information, see www.unglobalcompact.org/. See also OHCHR, “The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Relationship to United Nations Global Compact Commitments – July 2011 (Updated June 2014)” (https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/human_rights/Resources/GPs_GC%20note.pdf).
GB.320/POL/10, 14 February 2014. Available at www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_236168.pdf.
One of four instruments of the 1976OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. See http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/text/.
See commentary on general policies contained in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, para. 10 (www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf).
To date, approximately 300 instances have been addressed by national contact points, covering a range of issues, including human rights, employment and industrial relations. See http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/database/.