The European Parliament Has Called for Import Bans on Forced Labor and Modern Slavery

The Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA) Group in the European Parliament released a discussion paper to analyze the feasibility of introducing import bans on products related to severe human rights violations.

The paper, titled ‘Towards an EU Import Ban on Forced Labor and Modern Slavery,’ makes a comparison between 4 different methods of the new instrument introduction:

  • EU foreign policy;
  • amending EU’s Free Trade Agreements and other trade mechanisms;
  • a new Internal Market instrument;
  • a new instrument with a trade legal basis.

By examinating merits and drawbacks of each option, the EFA Group settled down on the last method, a new EU instrument with a trade legal basis.

According to the EFA Executive Summary, about 25 million people in the world are in forced labor. Most of their products are circulating in the European market. Though a law on corporate human rights and environmental due diligence has been proposed, no laws can prevent products associated with human rights violations from landing in its market.

The upcoming diligence due law will serve to restrict companies harmful behaviors and to protect human rights and environment. It will also grant victims legal power in courts when companies violate their rights. The import ban instrument would be a complementary measure to it; if the ban takes effect, goods involving potential grave forced labor will receive immediate ban from importing into Europe.


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