SLBS, BSI Collaborate To Prevent Exploitative Labor Practices In St. Lucia

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The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) has, for the first time, assumed the role of co-secretariat, alongside the British Standards Institute, to steer and support the development of an International Standard for organizations, on modern slavery. This initiative, which commenced in July 2023, is being conducted as part of the development work programme of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) under ISO/TC 309: Governance in Organizations.

‘Modern slavery’ is the broad term now used to describe a range of exploitative labour practices, which includes forced or compulsory labour, debt bondage and human trafficking. Such exploitation practices range from poor and unlawful labour and employment practices to severe forms of exploitation such as human trafficking.

It is estimated that there are 40.3 million victims of modern slavery worldwide. Of these, 24.9 million are said to be exploited through forced labour, with the Latin America and Caribbean region being one of the regions identified as being highest risk. Organizations of all sizes and sectors therefore need assistance in understanding how their activities and business relationships can wittingly or unwittingly be linked to modern slavery practices.

The established  guidance document will assist  public and private organizations, particularly SMEs, which make up most of Saint Lucia’s businesses, to understand the risk of modern slavery on their operations, and to assist them to respond adequately to these risks. These risks have the potential to not just affect the sustainability of our businesses, but importantly, represent a serious violation of people’s fundamental human and labour rights. Through the implementation of this governance standard, other organizations along the supply chain can have demonstrable instances of human trafficking avoidance.

An awareness building seminar will be held on the 29th November 2023 at the Harbor Club hotel starting from 10:00 am. This event will include local, regional and international technical experts presenting with their knowledge and experiences from supply chain and Human Trafficking challenges. The discussion will include the importance of developing a standard for organizations to ensure their operations do not encourage or unknowingly participate in instances of Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery and Forced Labour activities.

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