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OSCE Special Representative calls for business community to step up efforts to eliminate human trafficking

( OSCE ) -  The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, called on global businesses to renew their commitment to stamp out human trafficking across the supply chain at a roundtable discussion hosted by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 10 October 2013.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Vienna, June 2011. (OSCE/Alberto Andreani.)

"Human trafficking has become a massive phenomenon, linked with economic trends. We need businesses' engagement to eradicate it," Giammarinaro said. "There are already voluntary initiatives such as codes of conduct applying also to suppliers of goods and services; and these should be complemented by regulations that would establish basic obligations to take action to clean the supply chain from trafficking and forced labour."

The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness about human trafficking and exploitation and facilitate the sharing of good practice both internationally and in the UK. Speakers included British Minister of State Hugo Swire, the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Businesses, John Morrison, and the Group Head for Corporate Responsibility for ArcelorMittal Charlotte Wolf.

Giammarinaro noted that the UK has provided a clear political sign and helpful guidance to the business sector through its national plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, the long standing experience of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority shows that the establishment of clear criteria for licensing of recruitment agencies and subsequent monitoring of their activities is an effective means to prevent fraudulent and exploitative practices.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Executive Agency Wilton Park also hosted the UK launch of the Special Representative's paper  Trafficking in Human Beings Amounting to Torture and other Forms of Ill-treatment  on Wednesday evening.