Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, A.I. 72(b) (via VTC)

Matthew Olmsted
ECOSOC Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 28, 2020


Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Special Rapporteur Obokata.

You mention that perpetrators use technology to exploit vulnerable persons. Can you give examples of some technologies that exist to combat contemporary forms of slavery?

Your report mentions forced labor as a focus area. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking utilizes research, awareness raising, policy engagement, and technical cooperation to address child labor and forced labor. The Department publishes three reports on these subjects and provides tools such as the Comply Chain app to companies to combat exploitation in their supply chains. Since 1995 it has helped rescue nearly two million children from child labor.

You also mention homeless persons, including street children. The U.S. Strategy, “Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity,” provides a comprehensive approach to international assistance for the world’s most vulnerable children. This Strategy directs U.S. foreign assistance efforts towards three strategic objectives: first, building strong beginnings through adequate health, nutrition, and responsive caregiving; second, supporting children who are at risk of living outside of family care; and third, protecting children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

The United States calls attention to egregious human rights abuses in China, including Beijing’s detention of more than one million Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang internment camps, where there have been reports of forced labor. The CCP’s use of forced labor is not confined to the Xinjiang region alone, and is increasingly taking place throughout China through government-facilitated arrangements with private sector manufacturers.

Additionally, the Cuban government has sent over fifty thousand medical staff overseas to work excessive hours in harsh conditions. There are reports of abuse, including coercion, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports, restriction of movement, and intimidation of family members. This is an exploitative operation disguised as humanitarian aid. We urge host countries to stop facilitating these human rights abuses.