Sustainable and slave-free supply chains by 2030
The Australian Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index estimates that in 2016, more than 40 million people were living in new forms of slavery, nearly 25 million in forced labor, and more than 15 million in forced marriage*. The index also says that in Germany alone, 167,000 people live in slavery-like conditions – that’s about 0.2 percent of our population. But the problem of global slavery affects Germany beyond the number of people directly affected. It is either fueled or pushed back by our political and business decisions. And it has so far found its way into our production and supply chains on a widespread scale.
Global fight against slavery
The good news is that slavery can be stopped if legal systems are restored and perpetrators are prosecuted. IJM has already achieved this in several countries. The fact that clean supply chains are possible is also proven by individual companies that go far beyond minimum requirements. And not only that: their efforts have brought about lasting change in the lives of workers in their supply chains.
Situation in Germany
As a marginal issue in politics and business, slavery has so far received too little attention in Germany. The German branch of the international anti-slavery organization International Justice Mission (IJM) has set itself the goal of changing that: slavery should receive appropriate attention and opposition in Germany. The knodel foundation supports this project and works together with IJM Germany and other partners.
Regional and national engagement
For this reason, together with IJM, we organized the first German “Stop Slavery Conference” in Stuttgart in November 2018. This mobilized political and economic decision-makers to proactively oppose slavery in their sphere of influence. The “Game Changer Conference” in November 2019 also demonstrated in Berlin with strong partners from politics, business and civil society at the state level what committed cooperation against slavery can look like.
Also at all upcoming conferences, there should be an exchange of experiences on how human rights can be respected and slavery in the supply chain can be prevented. This is because, unlike other problematic working conditions, slavery is usually found in the last two levels of a product’s supply chain – where many clients currently have no control over their supply chain.
A key goal of the Gamer Changer conference is to present measures that effectively combat slavery in supply chains. And to do so using “best practices” from the business community. The knodel foundation and IJM believe that it takes a concentrated collaboration of civil society, policy makers and business to achieve sustainable and slavery-free supply chains.
*Source: Global Slavery Index, 2018
IJM Germany is the German branch of the international human rights organization International Justice Mission (IJM), which works for the rights of victims of human rights violations in 10 partner countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers free victims, convict perpetrators, help victims and influence the respective justice systems in close cooperation with governments and local authorities. IJM provides legal assistance to protect people living in poverty in developing and emerging countries from violence and oppression.