amfori’s Strong Response to the Threat of State Imposed Forced Labour

26-06-2020

 

In response to growing concerns over the use of state imposed forced labour (SIFL), amfori has published a position paper and a practical guidance note for its members on this issue.

Forced labour is defined by the ILO in its Convention No. C029 as, “All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.”

State imposed forced labour (SIFL) refers to work exacted by the public authorities, military, or paramilitary, compulsory participation in public works, and forced prison labour (under certain conditions).

State imposed forced labour can be particularly difficult to combat as many of the strategies used to tackle forced labour rely upon actions and regulations applied by the state.

amfori Acts to Protect Workers Worldwide

Since the launch of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (today called amfori BSCI), we have provided our members with the necessary tools and training to combat forced labour in their supply chains. In March 2020, we launched our SIFL taskforce in order to focus on the particular challenges that arise when dealing with state forced labour.

The taskforce has committed to develop a set of new actions for amfori and its members that will enhance our ability to detect and address SIFL. The recommended actions captured in a position paper and guidance note for members include:

  • sharpening amfori’s tools on social compliance to better target SIFL
  • developing SIFL-specific training
  • improving supply chain mapping to better detect the malpractice
  • fashioning responsible purchasing practices to support businesses to pull out of SIFL-affected countries, and
  • leveraging our partnerships and advocating for greater awareness and action on this issue

Although data is scarce on the gender divide within cases of SIFL, in forced labour in general, around 60% of those who are forced to work are women. For this reason, we will endeavour to develop a gender responsive approach. This approach will help us to understand the gender breakdown of victims of SIFL, the particular challenges that each gender faces and to design our response accordingly.

It is our firm belief that by implementing the above actions amfori and its members will be better equipped to combat state imposed forced labour and advance sustainability in supply chains. 

View the position paper View the guidance document 

For further information you can contact our stakeholder engagement team Guggi.laryea@amfori.org