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Eradicating Modern Slavery: An assessment of Commonwealth government progress on achieving SDG Target 8.7

Jul 30, 2020 Download File

This report highlights Commonwealth government action and inaction to tackle contemporary forms of slavery. In 2018, Commonwealth governments committed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7. Two years on, this report finds that progress has been slow and concrete action is urgently needed to achieve this target by 2030. This report is the result of a partnership between the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Walk Free.  

A review of 54 Commonwealth government responses reveals that a lack of legislation across many States undermines attempts to deter and convict perpetrators of modern slavery. Almost a fifth of all Commonwealth countries have yet to criminalise human trafficking, while two-thirds have failed to make forced marriage illegal. The effectiveness of criminal justice systems across the Commonwealth continues to be compromised by weak enforcement of legislation. Restrictive immigration policies also facilitates coercion and prevents workers from leaving an exploitative employer. Discrimination, including harmful traditional practices, plays a significant role in exacerbating the vulnerability of groups to exploitation — for example, caste-based discrimination in India, the exclusion of the Rohingya population from accessing some services in Bangladesh, and the widespread criminalisation of homosexuality across the African region.

CHRI and Walk Free call for modern slavery to be set firmly on the agenda for the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and for member states to commit to launch a major initiative to combat modern slavery and protect those who are most vulnerable.

The report was launched at an online event on 30 July 2020, the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, with special guest experts

You can view a recording of the webinar  here.

Commonwealth countries must act urgently to meet modern slavery targets - press release can be viewed here

An op-ed article by CHRI and Walk Free on the findings of the report is available here.