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Modern Slavery Policy - a Dutch Regulation Against Modern Slavery

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), around 40.3 million people are considered slaves today worldwide. 24.9 million of them are enslaved in forced labor, and a quarter of them are children. Thus, to combat this problem, there is a Dutch regulation for a Modern Slavery Policy.

New Regulations Worldwide for a Modern Slavery Policy

Several countries, such as Australia, California, France, and the United Kingdom (UK), have enacted obligations to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.  The Netherlands joined the effort on May 14th, 2019, and passed the Child Labor Due Diligence Law (Wet zorgplicht kinderarbeid).

Scope of New Dutch Regulation Against Modern Slavery

This regulation covers businesses registered in the Netherlands and any company that places products into the Dutch market twice or more per year. In addition, the bill targets companies selling online that explicitly focus on the Dutch market.

High-risk industrial sectors include manufacturers of various products, such as electrical and electronic equipment.

Regulation Against Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery Policy and Obligations Under New Dutch Regulation

The regulation entered into force on January 1st, 2020. Impacted companies will have to show due diligence on how they ensure that their supply chains are not involved in child labor. In doing so, they will have to submit a statement to the Dutch government, which will post it online. 

Chiefly, the statement will have to meet internationally recognized due diligence standards. If not, then companies may face administrative fines and even criminal charges.

Moreover, any person will be entitled to write an official complaint in case of violation of this law.

Human Rights Laws for Companies in Other Countries

Modern Slavery and Supply Chain

Globally, more and more social compliance obligations are being imposed on companies to protect human rights.

For example, Germany adopted the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act in June 2021. The law establishes due diligence procedures in companies’ business operations and global supply chain. The objective is to respect environmental standards and human rights.

To combat human trafficking, the EU implemented the Human Trafficking Directive 2011/36/EU in April 2011.

Similarly, France adopted Law No.  2017-399 in March 2017, legislation including due diligence measures to prevent infringement of human rights and freedoms.

Australia issued its Modern Slavery Act (MSA) in January 2019. The UK published its own in 2015. The United States also has laws against human trafficking, namely the Federal Acquisition Regulation Final Rule on Combating Trafficking in Persons 52.222-50 and the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act.

Finally, both the USA and the EU have enacted conflict minerals regulations with reporting obligations.

Conflict Minerals Slavery from the Mine to the Smelter

How Companies Can Be Socially Responsible and Carry out Due Diligence

Training - Be Socially Responsible

First, according to Germany’s Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, corporations must analyze the risks of disobeying human rights in their supply chain. Then, they must implement appropriate measures to manage these risks. Examples of preventative and remedial measures are:

  • Establishing codes of conduct
  • Selecting lawful suppliers
  • Monitoring suppliers for suspicious activity
  • Providing training courses on human rights
  • Having a policy statement on human rights strategies
  • Immediately taking corrective action if a violation occurs
  • Creating an avenue for people to file complaints against misconduct

Should you have any questions about regulations against modern slavery, contact Enviropass.