Delegate Name: Aanya Dogra
Committee: United Nations Development Programme
Topic: Worker Protection from Labor Exploitation
Delegate: Aanya Dogra, Forest Hills Northern High School
Labor exploitation has been prevalent throughout the entire globe: it is a violation of human rights. The history of labor exploitation is deeply rooted in economic changes and political conflict. Modern conflict, especially due to COVID-19, has placed a setback in combating labor exploitation. Addressing this is crucial to creating sustainable, fair, and responsible economic systems.
The current Labor Code of Ukraine was adopted in 1971 when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union which included laws about working hours, holidays, rest periods, wages, overtime, leave, and termination of employment. Ukraine plans to adopt a new labor code in 2023. In Ukraine, employers have a legal obligation to not use forced labor. Yet, The 2023 Global Slavery Index (GSI) estimates that on any given day in 2021, 559,000 people were living in modern slavery in Ukraine. However, this was before the invasion led by The Russian Federation. This conflict limited our capacity to reduce labor exploitation, especially in the Russian-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian aggression in Ukraine created more than 1.4 million IDPs, 190,000 of which were children. These children are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Child labor in Ukraine mainly consists of performing dangerous tasks in mining and producing pornography. Individuals are also exploited in forced begging, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. Russia continues to separate Ukrainian children from their parents and illegally transfer them to camps in Russia, which may be used for child labor.
To combat modern-day slavery, USAID has collaborated with the IOM, the Ukrainian government, and local civil society organizations (CSOs) to prevent human trafficking. Ukraine, in partnership with the International Labour Organization, works to teach employers how to prevent the use of forced labor in everyday operations of their companies through the following Guiding Principles: 1) freedom of employment; 2) freedom to terminate employment; 3) prevention of a threat of violence, harassment, and intimidation; 4) prohibition of coercion in wage payment; 5) prohibition of disciplinary measures against a worker as a ground for continued employment; 6) prevention of the use of overtime as a means of coercion to work; 7) guaranteed freedom of movement; 8) prevention of the use of skills development and vocational training as a means of coercion to work.
Ukraine believes that protecting workers from labor exploitation is essential to creating viable, well-organized, and ethical economic systems. Outside factors may include warfare, disease, and economic turmoil. Ukraine wishes to lower labor exploitation all around the world and calls on every nation to put an end to this issue. Ukraine looks forward to working with other countries on this topic.