Kuala Lumpur, March 15th 2018 – The United Nations (UN) Global Compact Network Malaysia (GCMY) with support from British High Commission Malaysia has come together to spearhead industry action to tackle modern slavery in trade, including human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour and set the stage for the World Forum to come end of 2018.
The pre-forum had brought together local, regional and global voices to caucus with the Government and industry leaders such as SUHAKAM, Lexis Nexis, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Tenaganita, International Labour Organization, UK Home Office and Civil Society Organizations (CSO)-Alliance to raise awareness against modern slavery in trade. The near-term objective is to mobilise Malaysian business to commit to minimum standards and long-term targets to make Malaysian-originating supply chains 100% slave-free.
The forum discussions underlined the current state efforts to tackle Human Rights issues in the region with perspectives from Private, Public, and Non-Governmental groups and discuss better solutions to the current challenges.
ASEAN is a region where low cost labour is made available to produce mass consumption of goods and services. Findings of a recent report produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN. agency focusing on labour rights indicate that forced labour was most prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region, (4 victims per 1,000 people) from 2012 to 2016. At over USD50 billion, this region makes the most money out of forced labour.
Shahazar Yazid, Executive Director of GCMY, said, “Malaysian businesses have the power to make a fundamental change in modern slavery. By leading the way by example, we can set a benchmark to assure the EU and our international business partners that our products are slave-free. This will put Malaysia at the forefront to lead the rest of the ASEAN region to follow suit.”
To recognise Kuala Lumpur’s Declaration on the Slave Free Trade commitment, the Slave Free Trade World Forum is scheduled to take place in the last quarter of 2018. The event aims to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery, child labour and human trafficking by 2025 in all business operations.