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HONG KONG – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently announced plans for the European Union to impose a ban on imports of products made using forced labour or which had links with modern slavery.

“Doing business around the world is good, global trade around the world is good and necessary, but can never be done at the expense of people’s freedom and dignity,” she said. “We will propose a ban on products made with forced labour.”

Her sentiments echoed those of leaders across the Western world, where the issue of modern slavery in supply chains is increasingly being discussed. Various industries are under scrutiny, with fashion and textiles supply chains being one of key concerns for its complexity in structure and operating models.

How can fashion and retail executives ensure due diligence in their supply chains when it comes to risks around modern slavery?

To explore this subject in-depth, Eurofins Consumer Products Assurance is running a free one-hour webinar. Hosted by social compliance audit expert Athiya Khatri, the webinar will share insights and advice on fostering ethical supply chain practices that protect workers from the risk of modern slavery.

The webinar takes place 12 October, 3:00pm UK Time / 10:00am EDT. A recording will be available thereafter.

From this webinar, delegates will gain an understanding of:

  • The various forms of modern slavery
  • The issues that can create an environment for forced labour
  • How to spot the indicators of forced labour
  • Safeguarding supply chains against unethical labour practices

You can register for this free webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6962722671748771853?source=apparel-insider

A recording of this webinar will be available to registrants on-demand after the session.

Modern slavery risks

From the picking of raw materials to the manufacturing, packaging and delivery of goods, modern slavery can exist at all stages of the supply chain. In fact, according to the International Labour Organization, at least 40.3 million people are thought to be trapped in modern slavery worldwide.

The UK and EU (and its member states) have introduced various laws to protect the human rights of workers in the global supply chain, especially concerning due diligence and forced labour.

In the UK, for instance, New Sentencing Council guidelines will apply for adult offenders convicted under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act (MSA) in the courts of England and Wales from 1 October 2021.

Meanwhile, new due diligence laws in the likes of France and Germany will see the imposition of strict punishments for retailers where evidence is found of modern slavery in their supply chains.

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