New business legislation focuses on forced labour


Close to 21 million people worldwide, many of whom are migrant workers, are working under conditions of forced labour. Legislators in different countries have introduced new regulations requiring companies to address forced labour and modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

In the United Kingdom, amendments to the Companies Act have added "corporate due diligence processes on all human rights issues, not just trafficking or forced labour" to non-financial reporting by companies with 500 or more employees. The French National Assembly has adopted a "company duty of care" legislation requiring large companies and their subsidiaries to publish plans for preventing human rights violations. The French law followed the 2016 "green card" initiative" - a form of enhanced dialogue on legislative reforms to ensure human rights due diligence by EU-based companies, launched by eight European Union (EU) national parliaments launched. The Australian Parliament is conducting an enquiry into the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act. The current and planned legal reforms in major economies represent momentum towards expanding corporate accountability for forced labour and modern slavery in supply chains.

IRIS works with businesses to align with existing and emerging legislation. This work is based on the fact that unethical recruitment practices are strongly linked to forced labour and trafficking in persons. Through voluntary certification and capacity building, IRIS supports recruiters in eliminating practices that make workers vulnerable to forced labour and human trafficking. As a due diligence tool, IRIS helps employers to ensure that their workers are not supplied under conditions of forced labour. IRIS helps to protect workers by helping them to identify labour recruiters who are ethical and respectful of human rights.