Here is a list of key documents that will guide our work in accordance with the international standards, guidelines, and principles. These documents will not only guide our work that aims to end modern slavery, globally but also act as a guiding light for global uniformity to uphold the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all people around the world. All the documents mentioned below can be downloaded from this page, however, each of them is available in the public domain.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) are a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations. States’ international human rights law obligations require that they respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of individuals within their territory and/ or jurisdiction. This includes the duty to protect against human rights abuse by third parties, including business enterprises. These Guiding Principles apply to all States and to all business enterprises, both transnational and others, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership, and structure.
The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas is the first example of a collaborative government-backed multi-stakeholder initiative on responsible supply chain management of minerals from conflict-affected areas. Its objective is to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral sourcing practices. The Guidance is also intended to cultivate transparent mineral supply chains and sustainable corporate engagement in the mineral sector with a view to enabling countries to benefit from their mineral resources and preventing the extraction and trade of minerals from becoming a source of conflict, human rights abuses, and insecurity.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organised crime. The Convention is further supplemented by three Protocols, which target specific areas and manifestations of organised crime: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
The Palermo Protocol was adopted by the United Nations in November 2000 as part of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. It is the first legally binding instrument with an internationally recognised definition of human trafficking. This definition provides a vital tool for the identification of victims, whether men, women or children, and for the detection of all forms of exploitation which constitute human trafficking.
In 2010, The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act was passed with the aim to ensure that consumers are provided with information on how businesses are making efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. It requires retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in California that have annual worldwide gross receipts that exceed one hundred million dollars to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from the direct supply chain for the goods that they sell.
The Modern Slavery Act (MSA) will give law enforcement the tools to fight modern slavery, ensure perpetrators can receive suitably severe punishments for these appalling crimes, and enhance support and protection for victims. Section 54 of the MSA requires organisations that supply goods or services and have a consolidated global turnover of £36 million per annum or more to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. Organisations must prepare a Statement and publish it on their website setting out the steps it has taken to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in its business and supply chain. The Act also requires organisations to be transparent if they have taken no such steps and publish a Statement to this effect.
In 2018, Australia introduced its own Modern Slavery Act. Similar to the British Act, it requires businesses and other organisations with a revenue of over A$100 million to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, as well as the action they have taken to assess and address those risks and the effectiveness of their response. The statement has to be approved by the board of directors or equivalent and signed by a director, these are published on a Government-administered public register.
In November 2019, the Dutch Government published the Child Labour Due Diligence Act. Similar to the UK Modern Slavery Act, this act requires companies to undertake human rights due diligence to determine whether child labour is in existence in their supply chains. This law has been put into force on 1 January 2020. It applies to companies registered in the Netherlands, and companies registered outside the Netherlands that deliver their goods to the Netherlands more than once a year. Companies covered by this law must conduct due diligence, submit a declaration, and adopt a plan of action to combat child labour exploitation in their supply chains, if found any.
The Forced Labour Convention’s objective and purpose is to suppress the use of forced labour in all its forms irrespective of the nature of the work or the sector of activity in which it may be performed. The Convention defines forced labour as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”, with few exceptions like compulsory military service among others.
These principles and guidelines bring together the ILO general principles and operational guidelines for fair recruitment, the definition of recruitment fees, and related costs. They are intended to cover the recruitment of all workers, including migrant workers, whether directly by employers or through intermediaries. They apply to recruitment within or across national borders, as well as to recruitment through temporary work agencies, and cover all sectors of the economy. Together this guidance forms a comprehensive approach to realising fair recruitment through the development, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies aiming to regulate the recruitment industry and protect workers’ rights.
The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Garment and Textile Industry is a legally binding agreement to make ready-made garment (RMG) factories safe. The agreement officially commenced on the 1st of September 2021. The garment brands and retailers that have signed the International Accord commit to supporting the independent RSC (Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council), which has already undertaken health and safety-related programs in Bangladesh; the brands and retailers further commit to the global expansion of country-specific health and safety programs based on the principles of the 2013 and 2018 Accord agreements and on feasibility studies.
ILO Convention No. 182 requires ratifying countries to take immediate immediate, effective and time-bound measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour (WFCL). It is the first ILO Convention to achieve universal ratification. By ratifying this Convention No. 182, a country commits itself to taking immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the WFCL.