James Kofi Annan, president of Challenging Heights, has urged African Continental Free Trade Association (AfCFTA) members to take immediate action to address the problems of modern slavery and human trafficking in their corporate supply chains or risk losing out on benefits from the AfCFTA initiative. He asserted that while the majority of African nations have passed legislation to combat modern slavery and human trafficking, none are currently known to have done so in order to address supply chain difficulties.
At this year’s Bali Process Government and Business Forum (GABF), held in Adelaide, Australia, James Kofi Annan addressed the business executives and ministers from governments all around the world. The foreign ministers of Australia and Indonesia, as well as two business co-chairs—Andrew Forrest (Australia) and Garibaldi Thohir—co-chaired the Bali Process this year (Indonesia).
The Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Association (AfCFTA), a continental zone established to let businesses in Africa to participate on the global market, is now being housed in Ghana, the president of Challenging Height informed the crowd.
Although the majority of African nations have implemented anti-human trafficking legislation, practically all of them have lax standards for supply chain due diligence when it comes to preventing slavery.
Because there is no requirement to do so, Mr. Annan emphasized that “I am yet to know any company within the AfCFTA enclave doing anything to address concerns of slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.”
According to him, the survival and success of AfCFTA and the businesses operating within the enclave are more at danger because the African continent is devoid of any modern slavery or human trafficking due diligence laws. He added that the majority of African businesses would soon be required to abide by foreign due diligence laws in order to conduct business abroad due to the passage of the Australian Modern Slavery Act, the upcoming passage of the European Union Due Diligence Legislation, and several of these laws by the majority of industrialized nations.
“I encourage AfCFTA member nations to replicate the Bali Process model, by acknowledging the problem exists and for them to act to solve concerns of human trafficking and modern slavery in their supply chains,” the speaker insisted.
In the past few decades, modern slavery and human trafficking have received widespread international attention. According to data that is currently available, about 50 million people globally are slaves, and this problem affects almost all nations. This illegal activity, with an estimated $150 billion in yearly profits, is the second-largest unlawful enterprise in the world.
Over 133,000 people are said to be victims of modern slavery in Ghana, with the Lake Volta fishing industry alone having an impact on over 20,000 children. Since 2003, Challenging Heights has been a prominent campaigner in the field, saving more than 1,800 kids from being forced into human trafficking.