On 16 October, the European Parliament Committees on International Trade (INTA) and on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) jointly adopted a strong mandate on a regulation to ban products made using forced labour on the EU market.
Renew Europe, which leads this file, is ready to negotiate with the Council and the European Commission as soon as possible in order to reach a deal and, crucially, have legislation in force before the end of the mandate.
According to the International Labour Organisation, 28 million people are currently in forced labour. As political leaders, consumers and citizens, the EU cannot let such situations flourish, nor allow such products to circulate on the European market.
INTA rapporteur Samira Rafaela MEP (D66, NL) said: “Forced labour is a severe violation of human rights. The ban that we voted on is pivotal for removing an economic incentive to engage in forced labour. We will prevent modern slavery products from entering the European market and shield our businesses and SMEs from unethical competition.”
Het is gelukt! Mijn concepttekst over het anti-dwangarbeid instrument is aangenomen. Deze wet is essentieel om producten gemaakt met moderne slavernij te verbieden en de economische prikkel voor bedrijven weg te nemen om überhaupt dwangarbeid te gebruiken. pic.twitter.com/0FVzukthOW— Samira Rafaela (@samiraraf) October 16, 2023
“The ban incorporates a robust database with concluded investigations. Furthermore, it protects whistle-blowers, offers remediation to victims and is gender-responsive, all essential components for a sustained impact. We state exactly what we stand for, protecting and upholding human rights.”
IMCO shadow rapporteur and ALDE Party Vice-President Svenja Hahn MEP (FDP, DE) added: “This instrument must help fight forced labour by eradicating the EU Single Market as a market for forced labour products. This is both a matter of our commitment to human rights and fair competition. The execution of the legislation must lie with the governments and the Commission.”
“Businesses need to do their part to make sure that their products are free from forced labour, but at the end of the day it is up to governments, not the economic operators or the consumers, to uphold and guarantee human rights.”