Parties submit bill to end child labour, exploitation and slavery

1 November 2022

Parties submit bill to end child labour, exploitation and slavery

Foto: SP

An initiative bill by the SP together with the ChristenUnie, PvdA, GroenLinks, Volt and D66 aims to reduce the international wrongdoings of child labour, modern slavery and environmental damage. The parties want companies operating in the Netherlands to be obliged to do international business with respect for human rights and the environment. This should create a level playing field for business, so that all companies will start to detect and remedy abuses.

Currently, nearly 50 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. There are shocking examples of small children forced to work in factories and vulnerable families practically forced into a slave existence due to debt. Or companies causing gross environmental damage. These abuses are part of the production chains of some companies operating in the Netherlands, or their partner companies. By law, companies must monitor their supply chains, provide transparent reports and, when abuses are found, they must deal with them.

Back in 2011, the UN and OECD set out rules to make international corporate social responsibility the norm. This was based on voluntary commitment, through covenants. While some companies picked up enforcement energetically, others did not do enough. Partly for this reason, former Member of Parliament Joël Voordewind submitted a first version of the International Corporate Social Responsibility Act to the Council of State in 2021. The current coalition endorsed the need for national legislation in the coalition agreement. After receiving the advice of the Council of State and the publication of the European bill, the law was rewritten. The six parties will submit the bill to the House of Representatives today.

SP MP Jasper van Dijk: 'This bill is very necessary. In Qatar, more than 6,000 people were killed in the construction of stadiums for the World Cup. Dutch companies were active there. This bill will prevent modern slavery, because Dutch companies will no longer be allowed to cooperate in this kind of practice.'

You are here