FTS and Alliance 8.7

Free the Slaves is dedicated to a slavery-free world, and our collaboration with Alliance 8.7 is a testament to that commitment. Here, we walk you through the significance of Alliance 8.7, why it came into existence, what Pathfinder Countries are, and our multi-faceted roles within this crucial organization.

The Origin: Understanding Alliance 8.7

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, outlining 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues. The initiative set 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” by 2030. The goals are broad and interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. The SDGs build on decades of work by countries and the UN, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including education, health, and job opportunities, while also tackling climate change and working to preserve oceans and forests.

Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 States

“Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.” – Source

The Start of Alliance 8.7

Inspired by SDG 8.7, Alliance 8.7 was launched in 2016 with a specific mandate to eliminate modern slavery, forced labor, human trafficking, and all forms of child labor exploitation. The initiative serves as a coalition of stakeholders, including UN member states, international development institutions like the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and civil society organizations.

A key part of Alliance 8.7’s strategy involves supporting Pathfinder Countries. Pathfinder Countries are member nations of Alliance 8.7 that make an additional public commitment to accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 8.7 within their borders. Alliance 8.7’s role is to aid them in developing and executing objectives outlined in their respective country roadmaps.

Alliance 8.7 Organizational Structure

Within Alliance 8.7, a multifaceted structure of distinct groups collaboratively works to fulfill the organization’s objectives. Each group plays a pivotal role in advancing the shared mission.

Click on each group to explore its specific directive and understand the significant role that Free the Slaves plays within them.

Global Coordinating Group (GCG)

The Global Coordinating Group (GCG), led by rotating Chairs from the governments of Chile and Côte d’Ivoire, convenes Alliance 8.7 stakeholders to regularly establish objectives and assess advancements.

Free the Slaves is one of three civil society organization members of the Global Coordinating Group.

Secretariat

The Secretariat is the administrative arm of Alliance 8.7. It is currently operated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), manages the daily functions of Alliance 8.7, including facilitating communication among partners, aiding Pathfinder Countries, and assisting the Global Coordinating Group (GCG).

Pathfinder Countries

Pathfinder Countries are member nations that have made an elevated commitment to expedite progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7, which aims to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery, and human trafficking, as well as eliminate the worst forms of child labor. These countries take a leadership role in advancing this cause.

Key commitments made by Pathfinder Countries include:

  1. Developing, adopting, and implementing improved legislation, national action plans, or policies focused on child labor, forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking.
  2. Translating these public commitments into concrete actions aligned with the key steps outlined in the Durban Call to Action.
  3. Ratifying or actively working towards ratifying or implementing applicable international human rights and labor standards.

Pathfinder Countries are responsible for crafting and adopting comprehensive roadmaps, developed through inclusive stakeholder engagement, that lay out specific plans and objectives. They are held accountable for successfully implementing and monitoring these measures, ensuring effective follow-up actions that contribute to achieving SDG 8.7.

The list of current Pathfinder Countries is growing and can be found on the Alliance 8.7 website here.

Note: Free the Slaves works directly with Pathfinder Countries to support their efforts and contribute to the fulfillment of their commitments. Further information on this partnership is detailed later on this page.

Partners

With a growing list that currently exceeds 370 entities, the partners committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 are diverse and comprehensive. The network includes civil society organizations, international and regional institutions, governmental bodies, academic entities and think tanks, employer and business membership organizations, workers’ organizations, media, journalists, and survivor networks.

A full list of Partners can be found on the Alliance 8.7 website here.

Free the Slaves is included as one of the partner organizations.

Action Groups

The Alliance 8.7 Action Groups serve as thematic focal points within the Alliance, allowing partners to contribute their expertise in research, policy, and action on specific issues. These specialized units focus on distinct aspects critical to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7. The Action Groups include:

  1. Forced Labor
  2. Migration
  3. Child Labor
  4. Survivor Engagement
  5. Supply Chains

Free the Slaves actively contributes to the efforts of the Alliance 8.7 Action Groups. Specifically, Free the Slaves leads the Forced Labor Action Group and the Survivor Engagement Action Group. Additionally, Free the Slaves participates in the Child Labor Action Group, the Supply Chain Action Group, and the Migration Working Group.

Accountability Framework

The Accountability Framework is a cornerstone of Alliance 8.7’s strategy to ensure tangible progress towards its objectives. Developed to rigorously measure and evaluate the efforts of Pathfinder Countries in eradicating modern slavery, this framework is supported by a set of comprehensive toolkits and indicators. Free The Slaves initiated the development of this framework in 2021, contributing a draft proposal to the Alliance 8.7 Monitoring Working Group (MWG). As a member of the MWG, Free The Slaves was instrumental in leading the refinement process of the Accountability Framework document and its Implementation Mechanism, before its final presentation to the Global Coordinating Group. Now, every Pathfinder country must adopt the Accountability Framework.

Download PDF of Full Accountability Framework

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The Accountability Framework was unanimously adopted by the Alliance 8.7 Global Coordinating Group (GCG) in December 2022 in Turin, Italy. Its companion document, the Implementation Mechanism, was adopted by the GCG on February 15, 2023.

Watch in French | Portuguese | Spanish | Arabic

Guiding Alliance 8.7’s Pathfinder Countries through Five Transformational Phases

While Alliance 8.7 provides the essential structure and accountability mechanisms to fight against modern slavery, it is not equipped with the resources to directly guide Pathfinder Countries through the complex process of transformation. This is where Free the Slaves steps in, fulfilling a vital role within the Alliance by contributing expertise and hands-on guidance at every stage of the Pathfinder Country Program. This multi-phase initiative is designed to bring nations closer to the eradication of forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor. Free the Slaves is committed not just to advising but also to actively participating in these crucial phases, thereby ensuring that strategic goals turn into on-the-ground action and tangible progress.

Phase 1: Manifestation of Interest

In the initial phase, prospective Pathfinder Countries delve into what it means to hold this status, examining the potential impacts and responsibilities it entails. They also begin the preparative work on the required deliverables for joining the Pathfinder community.

At the inception stage, Free the Slaves is proactive in recruiting countries that haven’t yet engaged with the Pathfinder Country Program. Through strategic advocacy, we influence governmental perceptions about the intrinsic value of becoming a Pathfinder Country. Our efforts often extend to forming coalitions with other civil society organizations to amplify the political will. Moreover, we demystify the application process for government officials, ensuring they are equipped to prepare and submit the necessary expressions of interest.

Phase 2: Planning

During this stage, the focus is on creating a strategic plan that will guide future action. Countries develop a roadmap, while those that are already active members have the opportunity to reassess and revise their existing plans.

Our involvement is dual-faceted during the planning phase: we contribute to the Alliance 8.7 organizational structure and assist Pathfinder Countries in roadmap development. Serving on the Monitoring Working Group, we scrutinize submitted roadmaps to ensure their alignment with the Accountability Framework’s criteria.

Beyond compliance checks, we offer consultation to Pathfinder Countries to elevate the quality and inclusivity of their roadmaps. Through our facilitation, survivors of modern slavery, at-risk communities, and other civil society entities are actively engaged in the roadmap formulation, guaranteeing their concerns are adequately reflected.

Phase 3: Implementation of Roadmaps

The actual implementation phase kicks off after the Global Coordinating Group (GCG) formally designates the country as a Pathfinder. Though previous initiatives may have laid the groundwork, this is when the implementation of the developed roadmap takes center stage. While support is available from fellow Pathfinder Countries, Alliance members, and the SDG Monitoring Working Group, the primary onus of implementation falls on the Pathfinder Country itself.

The relationships we foster during the planning phase are instrumental in the actualization of roadmaps. By linking governmental bodies with stakeholders such as survivors, vulnerable communities, and civil organizations, we lay the foundation for more effective, inclusive implementation processes. Our extensive global experience uniquely equips us to provide ongoing consultation and coaching to countries during this vital phase.

Phase 4: Monitoring and Reporting

This phase is critical to the overall process and involves the annual submission of progress reports and updates by the Pathfinder Country in accordance with the Accountability Framework. While the Alliance 8.7 Secretariat helps streamline the reporting duties, the SDG Monitoring Working Group remains available for additional support as needed.

Our commitment is unwavering during the monitoring phase. After spearheading the development of the Accountability Framework, we have been continually involved in reviewing and evaluating its execution. Our oversight in this phase is both thorough and authoritative, drawing on our expertise and intimate involvement in the framework’s creation. At this phase Free the Slaves is also involved in ensuring that survivors, communities most at risk of modern slavery, and civil society organizations are included in the pathfinder countries reporting processes.

Phase 5: Review

The SDG 8.7 Monitoring Working Group and GCG scrutinize the annual progress reports and activities undertaken by each active Pathfinder Country. A specialized sub-group may be formed under the Monitoring Working Group’s leadership for an in-depth review, which then reports back to the GCG.

Reviewing each country’s progress reports is an integral part of our contribution. These reports not only delineate the advances in roadmap implementation but also indicate how successfully vulnerable groups have been integrated into the process. We continue to champion the involvement of survivors, vulnerable communities, and other civil society organizations during the evaluation of these reports, ensuring a comprehensive review process.

Free the Slaves stands at the forefront of the global effort against modern slavery, making pivotal contributions to Alliance 8.7’s Pathfinder Country Program at every transformative phase. By offering strategic guidance from a country’s initial interest to its continuous monitoring and review, Free the Slaves ensures that these nation-states are both equipped and accountable in their mission to eradicate forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor.

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