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Forced Labour

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they intend to ensure that, following the recent judgments of United States federal prosecutors, no produce sold in the United Kingdom from Florida has been harvested using trafficked migrant workers or forced labour. [HL1924]

There is currently no domestic or European legislation that enables the UK to prevent the sale or importation of products from forced labour. We do not believe that any attempt to impose legislation in this area would be successful, practically or legally. Where there are instances of forced labour in a country, it is for that country to address them, as the USA has done in the example alluded to in the noble Lord's Question.

For its part, as a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UK Government actively encourage ILO member states to work towards ratifying and meeting the provisions of the “core” labour conventions, including those concerned with forced labour.