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30 May 2023

Anti-Slavery International,
La Strada International

Guide: Human rights due diligence: risks of modern slavery for displaced workers

Faltrego Ltd for Anti-Slavery International

In 2020, a quarter of the world’s population was living in conflict-affected countries. By May 2022, the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence and human rights violations surpassed 100 million, more than double the number recorded in 2010 (41 million).

These displaced people are at higher risk of human rights abuses, which happen in the conflictaffected areas, along the unsafe migration routes they are forced to take and when they arrive in their destination country. These human rights abuses can include labour exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking.

Displaced people are at higher risk of exploitation for many reasons, including hardship and discrimination, deceptive and coercive recruitment practices, language barriers, weak social networks and a poor understanding of labour law in their destination countries.

All businesses – from consumer-facing brands to business-to-business suppliers – have a duty to respect the human rights of all those working in their own operations and in their value chains.

There is always something that businesses can do to prevent and mitigate the risk of exploitation in their operations and value chains.

This guidance explains how businesses can prevent and mitigate some of the risks of labour exploitation, forced labour and trafficking affecting displaced people. It is aimed in particular at businesses who work in or with suppliers in countries neighbouring conflict-affected areas or where there are high numbers of displaced people.

To illustrate the relevance of heightened due diligence, throughout this guidance, we have included case studies of those countries receiving high numbers of people displaced by the ongoing war in Ukraine: Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Moldova, Poland and Romania.

The Guide is also available in Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian.