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European Commission proposes ban on forced labor products

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed implementing a ban on products within the European Union that are manufactured using forced labor. File Photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed implementing a ban on products within the European Union that are manufactured using forced labor. File Photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The European Commission on Wednesday proposed implementing a ban on products within the European Union that are manufactured using forced labor.

The EU executive's proposal would cover all products made in the EU for domestic consumption and exports as well as imported goods.

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It does not target specific companies or industries.

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"The international community has committed to eradicating forced labor by 2030," the report states.

"However, its use remains widespread. The International Labor Organization has estimated the global number of people in forced labor at 27.6 million."

The majority of forced labor takes place in the private economy, although some is imposed by states, according to the report.

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Under the proposal, EU member states would be responsible for implementing the rules using a risk-based enforcement approach that would be phased in over time.

National authorities in each country would make decisions based on multiple different sources of information, including a database of forced labor risks focusing on specific products and geographic areas.

If authorities find forced labor, they will order the withdrawal of the products already placed on the market, and prohibit them from being exported.

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"This proposal will make a real difference in tackling modern-day slavery, which affects millions of people around the globe. Our aim is to eliminate all products made with forced labor from the EU market, irrespective of where they have been made," EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a release.

"Our ban will apply to domestic products, exports and imports alike. Competent authorities and customs will work hand-in-hand to make the system robust. We have sought to minimize the administrative burden for businesses, with a tailor-made approach for SMEs. We will also further deepen our cooperation with our global partners and with international organizations."

The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union before it can be enacted. It will apply 24 months after its entry into force.

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