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23 Apr 2024

Anti-Slavery International

European Parliament signs off broad law to prevent the trade of goods made with forced labour

Lawmakers in the EU today voted in favour of a far-reaching law to eradicate forced labour from supply chains in the EU – a move welcomed by workers around the world. The Forced Labour Regulation covers both the import of goods and the trade of goods within the EU bloc and will have implications for businesses headquartered both within and outside of the EU.

Everyone deserves to live and work in freedom, but we know that there are over 21 million people in forced labour all around the world, producing the products and providing the services we use every day. While recent global progress in tackling modern slavery has not been anywhere near ambitious enough to truly see an end to slavery, the progression of this law is an important milestone towards eradicating forced labour.

Today’s vote sees the EU one step closer to joining the United States in agreeing to a strict product control measure to prevent goods made with forced labour from being traded on its market. The vote marks the final stage before the law is translated and is anticipated to come into force in two years’ time. While the law is missing key provisions that would have heightened its effectiveness, it can still positively impact workers and prevent perpetrators from profiting from forced labour. It would also give consumers positive assurances about the products they buy. The EU’s law is designed to go hand in hand with the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), which is due to be voted on in Parliament this week. Together, these laws will send a strong message to workers around the world that the EU will not stand for forced labour...