Global Forum supports Brazil's National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor

Friday, July 20, 2012

FLA Executive Director Jorge Perez-Lopez (left) with Caio Magri of the Ethos Institute

According to the US Department of State, more than 25,000 persons are subjected to slave labor in Brazil, typically on cattle ranches, logging and mining camps, sugar-cane plantations, and large farms producing corn, cotton, soy, and charcoal, as well as in construction and deforestation. In 2005, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ethos Institute, and the Social Monitoring Institute formed the National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labour in Brazil (the “PACT”), a multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to engaging national and international companies to maintain supply chains free of slave labor.

FLA Board member and Human Rights First senior advisor Meg Roggensack (right) with Mark Mittelhauser, U.S. Department of Labor

In July 2012, FLA’s Global Forum For Sustainable Supply Chains and the International Labour Organization (ILO), with support from Catholic Relief Services, organized a 2-day workshop to provide PACT stakeholders with information about accountability mechanisms, transparency requirements and aspects of technical, financial and organizational sustainability based on the experience of other multi-stakeholder initiatives. Since the PACT was launched, signatory companies have complied with the following commitments: cutting commercial ties with businesses that have made use of slave labor, incorporating contractual clauses associated with practices that characterize slavery, and implementing mechanisms to track products and providing in-house training for employees and trading partners on slave labor to eradicate the problem. PACT stakeholders are seeking to consolidate the progress that has been achieved and to restructure going forward in a manner that promotes accountability, transparency and sustainability.

What participants are saying about the Global Forum for Sustainable Supply Chains:

  • Andrea Cuba, ILO: "This meeting will help to increase PACT's capactiy to promote the eradication of forced labor in global supply chains."
  • Leonardo Sakamoto, Reporter Brazil: "PACT is just 7 years old, and we all want to see it continue to grow. We need to learn more about how to structure the PACT in a sustainable way. We want to learn and exchange idas with FLA and other global initiatives to understand how they’re working and making progress, as well as becoming part of the international labor and human rights network."
  • Britta Klemmer, FLA's Global Forum: "By supporting PACT in its sustainability planning we hope to reach more companies in different industries. Workers in these companies’ supply chains would benefit from the safeguards against slave labor that the PACT signatories have committed to, namely cutting commercial ties with businesses that have made use of slave labor, incorporating contractual clauses associated with practices that characterize slavery, and implementing mechanisms to track products and providing in-house training for employees and trading partners on slave labor to eradicate the problem."
Leo Sakamoto, Director of Reporter Brazil

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