Security ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries have agreed to coordinate efforts to tackle human trafficking online and eliminate forced labour from supply chains, as part of a series of measures to combat modern slavery across the globe.
At the G7 security meeting, Building a More Peaceful and Secure World, which concluded in Toronto, Canada on Tuesday, ministers made 9 commitments on behalf of the G7 which will be vital to protecting those vulnerable to trafficking.
These included co-ordinating and sharing information and intelligence on the emerging threat of online trafficking, working with businesses to end forced labour in our economies, and clamping down on the financial interests of those who profit from trafficking.
UK Minister for Security, Ben Wallace, said:
Modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour are barbaric crimes that devastate the lives of some of the most vulnerable across the globe.
The UK government has led the way in tackling this crime and in 2015 Theresa May introduced the Modern Slavery Act to give our law enforcement agencies the tools they needed to identify and protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
But truly ending this global crime demands a global response, which is why I am so proud of the agreements reached with my G7 colleagues this week. These commitments represent a real step forward in the international response to this truly horrendous crime.
At this week’s meeting, G7 ministers also recognised that women and girls account for the majority of trafficking victims worldwide and therefore the need to ensure the global response is gender-sensitive and grounded in respect for human rights.
The G7 agreed to:
- work with business and civil society to eliminate trafficking in persons, forced labour, child labour and all forms of slavery, including modern slavery, from G7 economies, by developing legislative, regulatory or policy frameworks, as appropriate
- strengthen procurement practices to eliminate trafficking in persons, forced labour, child labour and slavery from global supply chains and work to build a culture of consumer awareness
- welcome the objectives of the ‘Call to Action to end Forced Labour, modern slavery and human trafficking’, recognising that legal definitions vary from country to country
- uphold and promote the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Trafficking in Persons Protocol (Palermo Protocol), consistent with national reservations, understandings and declarations
- combat trafficking in persons by partnering with the private sector and civil society to counter illicit financial flows stemming from trafficking in persons, including by leveraging financial intelligence and the work by the Financial Action Task Force and its global network, as well as investigating and prosecuting
- improve information sharing and data exchange within the existing legal framework, explore opportunities for cross-training and draw from best practices and lessons learned from efforts to counter terrorism and efforts to counter transnational organised crime – for example, by continuing to work with the INTERPOL Global Task Force on human trafficking
- share information and best practices on support for and reintegration of victims
- co-ordinate efforts and share best practices on how to address the use of the internet to facilitate trafficking in persons
They also committed to encourage the Roma-Lyon group on transnational organised crime and terrorism to explore the feasibility of a common public messaging campaign.