There are reasons to believe that the risks of vulnerability to modern slavery and human trafficking are increasing due to major social, technological, and environmental changes. These include climate change, automation, conflict, and migration, which disrupt global labor markets, value-chains, and livelihoods.
These disruptions make people more vulnerable to modern slavery and human trafficking. And financial exclusion amplifies those vulnerabilities. On the other hand, financial inclusion can reduce vulnerability.
In fall 2018, the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking was launched to coincide with the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. This past September at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the commission released their report, Unlocking Potential: A Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking. Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, was a member of the commission.
As shared in the Blueprint, finance is a lever that can move the entire global economy. The financial sector has unparalleled influence over global business and can invest in and foster business practices that help end modern slavery and human trafficking. No individual financial sector actor can end slavery on its own. Hence, the Blueprint’s call for collective action.
The Blueprint sets five goals that provide a framework for the financial sector to demonstrate their commitment to accelerating action to end modern slavery and human trafficking, including a framework for financial sector actors and a toolkit for implementation. The five goals are:
Goal 1: Compliance with laws against modern slavery and human trafficking.
Goal 2: Knowing and showing modern slavery and human trafficking risks.
Goal 3: Using leverage creatively to mitigate and address modern slavery and human trafficking risks.
Goal 4: Providing and enabling effective remedy for modern slavery and human trafficking harms.
Goal 5: Investment in innovation for prevention.
Each goal is accompanied by three “Act Now” measures for immediate action, and three “Initiate” actions that may have a longer gestation.
With the launch of the Blueprint, the Financial Sector Commission will cease operation. The Liechtenstein Initiative will continue in the form of Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST), which will aim to provide guidance and support to those implementing the Blueprint. An implementation review conference will be held in 2021, considering progress in implementation, identifying lessons and new developments, and exploring new opportunities.