Topic: 2023-Worker Protection From Labor Exploitation
Delegate Name: Kathryn Macey
Submitted to: United Nations Development Programme
Subject: Worker Protection from Labor Exploitation
Millions of people worldwide are the victims of labor exploitation. Various types of labor exploitation are present throughout the world, such as dangerous or unsanitary working conditions, under-compensation for work, child labor, labor trafficking, and other types of forced labor. Ethiopia encourages this body to mirror our commitment to addressing the root causes of labor exploitation within Ethiopia and around the world.
Exploitative labor practices are prevalent in Ethiopia. Forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation are prevalent as a result of human trafficking. Long-term droughts have created food instability and internal displacement. Internally displaced children are more susceptible to being forced into child labor and exploited. It’s estimated that approximately 15 million children work in Ethiopia. Most of those children work in the agriculture sector, the weaving industry, or domestic service. The government of Ethiopia has recognized labor exploitation occurring in Ethiopia and in an effort to prevent it in the future supported a study in 2022 that investigated the causes behind child domestic servitude.
With the underlying factors contributing to labor exploitation revealed, the problem can be addressed more effectively. Different countries have various contributing factors contributing to the existence of labor exploitation, however, Ethiopia would like to stress that this body should focus on the root cause. Labor exploitation occurs when there is a substantial power imbalance. Companies chasing low production costs in developing nations underpay for the resources, allowing practices such as child labor and forced labor. Desperate families in poverty sometimes have little choice but to pursue opportunities that this body would classify as labor exploitation. Traffickers search for vulnerable people to exploit.
The biggest factors in creating these power imbalances are poverty and economic inequality. A United Nations Development Programme survey in 2019 found that 68.7 percent of people in Ethiopia are in multidimensional poverty. These conditions offer an explanation for the labor exploitation that occurs in Ethiopia. Countries with widespread poverty often have higher rates of labor exploitation.
The United Nations established the Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in 1991 with the goal of providing both financial and other assistance to victims of labor exploitation. Ethiopia strongly encourages the international community to contribute to this fund so that the benefits it provides can be expanded among a greater number of victims. But these approaches, while essential, are not enough. The investment has to come to people before they are victims. An additional fund needs to be created to help impoverished people in areas with high levels of labor exploitation. It is the duty of wealthier countries to contribute to prevent the inhumane exploitation of workers across the globe.
Ethiopia appreciates the number of nations who are coming together to address this problem. As a country with high levels of poverty and labor exploitation, Ethiopia wants to ensure that the root causes are addressed in order to prevent this issue from growing. Ethiopia looks forward to collaborating with other nations on potential solutions.
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Shrestha, Som Kumar. Briefing Note for Countries on the 2023 Multidimensional Poverty Index. 2023.
“A Deep Dive into the Labor Exploitation Behind Everyday Products.” DOL Blog, https://blog.dol.gov/2022/09/28/a-deep-dive-into-the-labor-exploitation-behind-everyday-products. Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.
“Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE).” DOL, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/ethiopians-fighting-against-child-exploitation-e-face#:~:text=Many%20children%20involved%20in%20this,farming%20land%20and%20HIV%2FAIDS. Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.
“Labor Trafficking.” National Human Trafficking Hotline, https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/human-trafficking/labor-trafficking#:~:text=Common%20types%20of%20labor%20trafficking,with%20little%20to%20no%20pay. Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.
“Drought In Ethiopia: 10 Million People In Need.” Africa Renewal, 9 Feb. 2016, https://www.un.org/africarenewal/news/drought-ethiopia-10-million-people-need#:~:text=Humanitarian%20needs%20in%20Ethiopia%20have,failures%20and%20widespread%20livestock%20deaths. Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.