EU action against forced labour

October 12, 2022

In September, the EU published a proposal to prohibit products made with forced labour. This will apply to all products, EU-made and imported.

National authorities will be able to withdraw from the EU market products made with forced labour, and customs authorities can stop such products at EU borders.

Member States will assess forced labour risks based on different sources of information, and investigate products for which there are well-founded suspicions that they have been made with forced labour.

The proposal takes into account concerns of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), for whom it is more complicated to assess their entire supply chain.

The proposal first needs approval from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Council, and will apply as of 24 months after its entry into force.

Earlier this year, the EU proposed related legislation on due diligence processes for larger companies falling in its scope. That proposal focused on human rights and environmental abuses in operations in companies and their full value chains.

The proposal includes sanctions in case of non-compliance wih the due diligence obligations, but it does not require Member States or companies to prohibit the placing and making available of any product on the market.

The forced labour proposal however will effectively prohibit the placing on the EU market and exports of products made with forced labour.  

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