The European Freedom Network (EFN) asks parliamentarians in Brussels to pass legislation that forces companies to identify and address human exploitation.
The European Parliament will vote about the EU directive on Corporate sustainability due diligence in its plenary session of the 31 May – 1 June.
In practice, the directive requires companies to identify and, where necessary, prevent, end or mitigate adverse impacts of their activities on human rights and on the environment.
Some European countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany, have already introduced national rules on due diligence, while some companies have taken measures at their own initiative.
The European Freedom Network (EFN), a Christian community that fights human trafficking and commercial exploitation in Europe, pointed out that around 21 million people experience situations of forced labour or exploitation.
“Those working to source raw materials or make products for big companies are exploited in dangerous working conditions and with wages that condemn them to grinding poverty. Forced labour is endemic across several sectors of the global economy”, denounces EFN.
They think that the EU directive is a positive initiative to reduce situations of exploitation, but “not enough to abolish modern slavery and human rights abuses that are mainly caused by international socio-economic inequalities”.
In order for the directive to achieve its “potential to save billions of people from exploitation”, EFN proposes that it also applies to indirect commercial partners and all entities that intervene in the supply chain, including one-off commercial partners.
The directive does not impose any economic sanctions or public consequences if a company does not comply with its obligations, therefore the EFN recommends to include a standard monetary fine within the text of the directive.
The Christian movement uniting over 250 organisations suggests to the EU to take the example of the German law, which provides for an administrative fine of up to 8 million euros or 2% of the annual turnover, as well as exclusion from public contracts for up to 3 years.
According to EFN, “there is something we all can do to prevent and make a difference” regarding this issue.
They urge all to search for information about human trafficking and exploitation situations within the supply chains, choose to support ethical and fair businesses, and contact the companies to demand for transparency and respect for human rights.
The Christian organisation also calls on believers to contact their Member of the European Parliament to ask them to vote in favour of the proposed directive.
You can read more about EFN initiative here.