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A good article covering the issue:


The European Parliament has asked for a legislative proposal on an

effective traceability mechanism for goods produced through forced and

child labour.

This could pave the way for a complete ban on the importation into the

EU of goods produced through modern forms of slavery or forced labour,

especially forced work of vulnerable groups extorted in violation of basic

human rights standards. No legislative initiative has been proposed yet.

The Parliament considers that forced labour and child labour need to

be taken into account in international trade relations. Therefore, it has

called on the EU to reflect on ways of finding evidence of these practices,

and in particular to establish an effective traceability mechanism for the

goods being

produced by means of forced or child labour in order to ban imports of

these goods.

The recommendation to the Commission to initiate a legislative proposal

on a traceability mechanism banning the import of goods produced using


forms of slavery or forced labour was put forward in a 2010 resolution on

human rights, social and environmental standards in International trade agreements.

Further resolutions, on child labour in the cocoa sector (2012), and on

the EC-Uzbekistan partnership and cooperation agreement (2011),

reaffirmed the proposal with specific respect to forced child labour,

while the 2013 resolution on the global cotton value chain referred to a

traceability mechanism for goods produced through child or forced labour.

Such an instrument would have implications both for bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Responding to a Council request, in 2013 the Commission drafted

a staff working document on the worst forms of child labour.

The document concluded that trade restrictions would be of only

limited effect or even counterproductive, because child labour is

caused by poverty and

takes place mainly in economic sectors that do not produce for export,

such as subsistence agriculture. It also argued that a traceability

mechanism would be

difficult to implement,

especially in the case of more complex supply chains, including

for example the auction of

agricultural commodities.

In order to be effective, it would also require the participation of other

major importing countries, and would impose significant costs on poor


In its June 2016 conclusions on child labour, the EU Council encouraged

the Commission, in line with its 'Trade for All' strategy, to use EU trade

instruments more

effectively, including the generalised scheme of preferences and free trade

agreements to

combat child labour. The Council also acknowledged the importance of

public-private initiatives involving different stakeholders and of

public procurement as a means to fight child labour.

On 5 July 2016, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative

resolution on the implementation of its 2010 recommendations on social

and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility,

which reiterates the 2010 request,

calling for a 'balanced and realistic proposal for legislation,

including measures such as labelling child-labour-free products,

giving trade preferences to countries that meet certain labour standards

and imposing horizontal import prohibitions on products made using child labour'.

The resolution further stresses that the objective of combating

forced labour and child labour should be included in the trade and

sustainable development chapters of

EU trade agreements, and that EU trade strategy should promote the

elimination of this type of work.


For further information: Ionel Zamfir,



Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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