TDHIF feedback on the proposed EU Regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market

Terre des Hommes welcomes the European Commission’s call for feedback on the proposed Regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the EU market.

At a global level, there are 27.6 million people in situations of forced labour on any given day. More than 3.3 million of all those in forced labour are children.2 The COVID-19 pandemic, increased armed conflicts and the climate crisis in recent years have led to unprecedented disruption to employment, education, household livelihoods, social protection and social security systems, increases in extreme poverty, forced and unsafe migration, and a sharp rise in violence, exploitation and abuse.

All these factors exacerbate the risk of all forms of modern slavery above all for those families and children who are already in situations of multiple vulnerabilities. Due to the above-mentioned factors, an additional 9 million children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 20223. There is a high risk of reverting years of progress.

Across the globe, Terre des Hommes has developed a multi-sectoral and evidence-based approach to realize the right to decent work for children and families while identifying and responding to child protection risks and concerns for children affected by (or at risk of) the worst forms of child labour both in the international supply chains and in the informal sectors of small unregulated businesses.

In view of the significant rise4 in modern slavery across the world, we see an urgent need to accelerate action towards eliminating this grave human rights violation. The proposed Regulation is an important step forward to eradicating forced and child labour, however, it significantly fails to reach its full potential and in particular to put children and workers at the centre.

At the heart of our concern is the impact that the implementation of the ban on products made with forced labour may have on affected or potentially affected families and children which could mean:

a) depriving them of their livelihood as often the entire family is dependent on the income generated through the production of these goods, and/or;
b) risking driving to even more hidden forms of forced labour as affected children and families see no alternative income opportunities and struggle to survive, making it even harder to detect and thereby perpetuating the problem.

Read our full feedback here.