Given that this is the basics, it is quite bizarre that global estimates barely mention the Forced Labor Protocol, an international law passed in 2014. Because this protocol answers this same question.
The Forced Labor Protocol is about several things. But at its core, it requires governments that ratify it to commit to developing action plans with businesses and unions to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. In other words, it is essentially process. it’s about the How? ‘Or’ What to fight slavery, rather than What.
The problem is that few countries have ratified it – 59 at last count. If the authors of reports as publicized as the Global Estimates continue to forget this, it is difficult to imagine that this list of countries is growing rapidly.
Money is almost certainly the reason some countries hesitate; any meaningful action plan has a high price. Who will pay, for example, scholarships so that girls can go to school without their families going into further debt? Or to hire more labor inspectors to ensure workers have decent work with decent pay? For some countries, especially in the Global South during an economic downturn, the answer must be “not us, not now”.
Direct aid budgets towards reduction of slavery
This is where development and humanitarian policy makers and practitioners, who rarely bother to think about slavery, must step in. Many aid programs have shown the impact that direct cash transfers can have on poverty. With more careful targeting of the 10 million people currently in debt bondage, they could also demonstrate the impact such approaches could have on slavery.
Moreover, the commitment of development policy makers to open new budget lines in their aid programs to finance credible action plans would constitute a considerable incentive for governments that have not ratified the Forced Labor Protocol. to do so, and for those who have only tinkered with action plans to commit seriously.
Since any serious action plan must address the challenge of expanding access to decent work, action plans in countries in the South could be complemented by anti-slavery action plans in countries North, which include national and transnational legislation to prevent companies from pressuring their suppliers. their supply chains. Decent work would also enhance the impact of direct cash transfers by reducing both the pressure on individuals to migrate and the risk of indebtedness.
Such approaches would be a far better use of domestic and foreign aid budgets than recent right-wing efforts to squander taxpayer dollars on punitive measures to prevent overseas migration.
If we are to see a real, measurable reduction in slavery before the next global estimates are released five years from now, policymakers will need to pay close attention to slavery reduction processes, scaled and funded to meet the needs. national and regional challenges. For now, when it comes to anti-slavery action, policymakers are just wringing their hands when they’re not sitting on them.