The pilot in Athens will consult procurement experts, suppliers and law enforcement to focus on preventing human trafficking in supply chains © Getty Images
The pilot in Athens will consult procurement experts, suppliers and law enforcement to focus on preventing human trafficking in supply chains © Getty Images

Athens aims to ensure goods and services are slavery-free

Athens is planning a pilot procurement scheme that aims to ensure all goods and services bought by the local government are free of forced labour.

Mayor of Athens Georgios Kaminis said a plan would be developed including concrete steps such as grievance mechanisms, capacity building, mapping of suppliers, and risk assessment and management to eliminate human trafficking from government supply chains. A pilot project will then take place from January 2020 to December 2021.

The plan, which will involve consulting procurement experts, suppliers and law enforcement, was announced during a conference in the city focused on the prevention of human trafficking in supply chains.

Heracles Moskoff, national rapporteur on trafficking of human beings for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said local governments have a crucial part to play when working towards a supply chain that is free from human trafficking and forced labour.

“We see with Athens’ pilot programme a tremendous leadership role by a municipal government in this fight, and it is an example that we want to replicate throughout other cities in Greece,” he said.

The conference was organised by Greek authorities in partnership with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the conference, Valiant Richey, deputy coordinator for combating human trafficking at OSCE, said that while countries have little control over the actions of traffickers, they can influence the private sector by requiring suppliers to act ethically.

He said: “We can’t prosecute [cases of labor exploitation] fast enough but governments have control of what they buy – procurement strategy is so important. It’s a way to fundamentally impact the marketplace for goods produced by exploited labor, to create a ripple effect that goes through the private sector.”

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