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#PressforProgress to end modern slavery
08 March 2018

In 1909, women workers in the United States gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the garment workers’ strike in New York. This, along with protests to gain the right to vote, crystallized into International Women's Day, which was celebrated for the first time in 1911. Since then, the working and living conditions of women have improved. But there are still immediate and pressing human rights issues that have not been resolved and affect women and girls disproportionately. One of them is modern slavery.

Close to 46 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016 alone and according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) over 70% of victims of modern slavery are women and girls.

This phenomenon can take many shapes including forced marriage, trafficking and forced labor. And women are more vulnerable to becoming victims because they largely work in the sectors where the incidence of forced labor is high, for example domestic work, manufacturing and agriculture. 

Transparency for progress

For companies, identifying and helping prevent modern slavery is important not only to lower reputational risk, but also to prevent supply chain disruptions or even legal consequences that can prevent them from continuing operations. Companies are now facing more scrutiny from their stakeholders, as well as more regulation, which increases their need to identify, report on, and address modern slavery in their supply chains, if any exists.

 At GRI we believe that corporate transparency can help businesses improve their methods to detect human rights abuses in their value chains, and take steps to remedy them.  We are undertaking actions in different fronts to bring attention to the issue. Through a process of stakeholder consultation, we aim to provide a roadmap for harmonized reporting that can address different reporting expectations.

We believe that more consistency and comparability will increase the value of the data for decision making and encourage more companies to engage in reporting on modern slavery. GRI and its stakeholders can spearhead the use of new tools and resources that companies need to obtain useful data and make informed decisions about tackling modern slavery in their supply chains.

Join the first wave

GRI is inviting companies to join the Corporate Leadership Group on Modern Slavery, to engage with investors, media, legal experts and governments and help redefine the way modern slavery is addressed. If you are interested in contributing to #pressforprogress for victims of modern slavery by deciding on the future of sustainability reporting on the issue, join the Corporate Leadership Group on Modern Slavery. To do so you can email Simone Warren at warren@globalreporting.org. And, if you want to know more about GRI’s work on modern slavery, please contact Katja Kriege, at kriege@globalreporting.org.