Forced labour continues to affect people in every corner of the world, and reaches far and wide into our daily consumption. According to statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are now around 40 million victims of modern slavery of which 25 million are in situations of forced labour. Of the 25 million, 16 million are in the private sector – half of whom are trapped in debt bondage. On the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2019, we, The Consumer Goods Forum, reemphasise the need for increased collaborative action and faster progress within the industry and beyond to help put an end to forced labour once and for all. It is not only a business imperative, but also a moral one.

We know that much work remains to be done, and that we must increase the pace of change in order to help eradicate this global problem. The private sector obviously has an important role to play, however we must not forget the role of governments in protecting the rights of their citizens. This is critical if we are to see positive change at scale. We also know that greater cross-sectorial collaborations are needed, including private sectors, governments and other key stakeholders, if we are to drive sustainable progress.

We are now one decade short of the 100-year anniversary of the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labour Convention which sought to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labour in all its forms in the shortest period possible. One hundred years is simply too long to solve an issue of such endemic proportions.

Today, on International Human Rights Day, we look to remind everyone that it’s not just about numbers: it’s about people. We ask for the private sector and governments to step up to the challenge and to work together and alongside other key stakeholders to help eradicate forced labour from global supply chains once and for all, and to uphold this basic human right.

We would also like to take this opportunity to look back on the work that the CGF has done over the past few years, since the launch of our 2016 Social Resolution on Forced Labour, the first industry commitment of its kind.

2016 Social Resolution on Forced Labour

Priority Industry Principles

Guidance on the Priority Industry Principles Document

2018 Business Call to Action

Business Actions Against Forced Labour Booklet – Member Case Studies

Report: Addressing Forced Labour Risks in the Palm Oil Sector in Indonesia and Malaysia

CGF Palm Social Task Force: High-Level Action Plan

2018 Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment – Executive Summary

Driving Responsible Recruitment in Southeast Asia – Regional Roundtables Executive Summary

2019 Forced Labour Special Event (Vancouver) – Executive Summary