EU takes stand against labour exploitation
Apr 23, 2024

EU takes stand against labour exploitation

By EJF Staff

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) today welcomes the resounding adoption of the Forced Labour Regulation (FLR) by the European Parliament. MEPs have rallied behind a key piece of legislation aimed at eliminating products tainted by labour exploitation from the EU single market. Today marks a significant milestone as MEPs gave their support to this crucial legislation, confirming that human rights are non-negotiable in the EU.

The overwhelming support for this legislation underlines the collective commitment to combat the scourge of forced labour, which affects a staggering 27.6 million people worldwide. Once in force, the regulation will enable the EU to tackle forced labour head-on, strengthening its ability to deter labour exploitation and uphold fundamental rights, says EJF.

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Steve Trent, CEO and founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation said: “Passing this law is only the first step towards meaningful change, but it is a landmark moment nonetheless. Lawmakers must now prove that this law is not just rhetoric, and that it will be properly implemented and enforced to ensure there will be real consequences for those who exploit our fellow human beings for profit.

To give a recent example, EJFs investigation into abuses by the Chinese Distant-Fleet in the South West Indian Ocean has again revealed the appalling realities of forced labour across the Chinese fleet, with crew members subjected to extreme conditions including threats and intimidation, abusive working conditions, and physical violence. These factors contributed to crewmembers’ deteriorating mental health, and in some cases led to crew deaths.

“There can be no room for ambiguity - products tainted by forced labour, such as those that can be traced to the vessels in our investigation, should be swiftly removed from EU supply chains. Failure on the part of the Commission or national authorities to enforce these rules risks perpetuating a cycle of exploitation and impunity.”


Notes to editor

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