Commonwealth 8.7 Network Statement: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Commonwealth 8.7 Network Statement: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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July 30, 2020

This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons marks the seventh day of its kind. Human trafficking, a widespread violation of the most basic human rights, touches communities the world over. There are approximately 40.3 million people held in modern slavery,[1] with nearly 40% residing in the Commonwealth.[2] The number of trafficked persons in the world is referred to as a “hidden figure”, as the vast majority of trafficking in persons goes undetected.[3] Yet, we know that trafficking in persons is one of the most common forms of modern slavery.[4]

The Commonwealth 8.7 Network sees this day as a reminder of the urgent action needed to eradicate human trafficking in all its forms, and the exploitative systems which enable it. This day also reminds us that we have a better chance of fighting human trafficking if we come together to coordinate our response, collaborate in our actions, and support one another.

The Commonwealth 8.7 Network is a group of over 60+ local civil society organisations from across the globe who share a common vision to eradicate contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking. Our members work on a variety of issues, ranging from child labour, to indigenous rights, to women’s rights, to trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. Our members focus on direct service delivery, research, advocacy, capacity-building, awareness raising and survivor support. Our Network is diverse but unified in its single purpose of raising a collective voice and taking action to counter the prevalence and severity of human trafficking in the Commonwealth and the world over.

Raising a united voice against human trafficking which includes the voices of survivors is essential. We believe that it is imperative to include survivors of human trafficking in the design, implementation and monitoring of all anti-trafficking efforts so that they are relevant and reflect the first-hand experiences of those who have been trafficked. Too often, survivors’ voices are not heard in the spaces in which they should lead at the forefront.

This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the Commonwealth 8.7 Network commits to working towards the further inclusion of survivors within our membership and our activities, as well as stressing the need for survivor voices in all our advocacy.

Anti-trafficking civil society organisations working on the frontlines are frequently overwhelmed, especially as COVID-19 has restricted organisations’ ability to operate and to access funds. It is therefore imperative that civil society organisations work with and alongside one another to enable knowledge-sharing and initiate collaborative capacity-building so that they can continue doing their vital work. Now, more than ever, civil society organisations need to come together to learn from and support one another.

This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, let us remember that the more united we are, the stronger we can be in moving towards a common future: a world free from slavery.

The Commonwealth 8.7 Network calls on all governments to take immediate action on human trafficking by:[5]

  • Increasing identification of and support for victims and survivors of human trafficking by providing regular, systematic training for all individuals who may come into contact with victims and survivors.
  • Ensuring that victims and survivors are afforded meaningful participation in all aspects of designing, implementing and monitoring government efforts towards achieving SDG Target 8.7.
  • Ensuring that legislation is properly enforced through providing adequate resources and training for all actors within the justice system and by removing barriers to victim participation in the criminal justice process.
  • Strengthening laws and policies which helps to prevent, identify and mitigate risk of forced labour and exploitation at all levels of public procurement and business supply chains.
  • Ratifying Forced Labour Convention (No. 29), Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105), the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
  • Engaging with businesses and regional fora to strengthen strategic partnerships to tackle forced labour and exploitation in supply chains.
  • Ensuring support to and collaboration with civil society organisations at local and national levels.

Find  out more about the Commonwealth 8.7 Network on our website (

Contact us at:

Commonwealth 8.7 Network members

A21 Australia (Australia)

Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta (Canada)

Anti-Slavery Australia (Australia)


Beacon of the Freed (Canada)

Centre for Youth Integrated Development (CYID) (Nigeria)

City Hearts (United Kingdom)

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (Australia)

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (United Kingdom)

Destiny Reflection (India)

Engage Now Africa (Ghana)

Foundation for Innovative Social Development (Sri Lanka) 

Freedom Hub (Australia)

Global Welfare Association (Cameroon)

Hope for Justice (United Kingdom)

Impulse NGO Network (India)

Justice and Care (United Kingdom)

KIWOHEDE (Tanzania)

Muwanga Development Association (Uganda)

National Freedom Network (South Africa)

PACT Ottawa (Canada)

People Serving Girls At Risk (Malawi)

Sahil (Pakistan)

Shiva Foundation (United Kingdom)

Sophie Hayes Foundation (United Kingdom)


Ulula (Canada)

WARBE Development Foundation (Bangladesh)

Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (Nigeria)

[1] International Labour Organization: Forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking (2020)

[2] Global Slavery Index (2018)

[3] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2018)

[4] Anti-Slavery International: What is modern slavery? (2020)

[5] Based on the publication entitled ‘Eradicating modern slavery: An assessment of Commonwealth government progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7’ by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Walk Free, an initiative of the Minderoo Foundation (July 2020).