Better working conditions for all

Fairtrade standards ensure businesses responsibly source their ingredients from supply chains where workers are treated fairly

An estimated
40.3 million people are in modern slavery

Slavery affects
45 million people in 167 countries today

Social cost of the
products we consume

Modern slavery refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

Modern slavery is also a rising problem. While slavery might cast your mind back to the history books, there is a very real and ever-present version of slavery that affects 45 million people in 167 countries today. It is exploitation in its cruellest form; from hu man trafficking and forced labour to unfair practices within supply chains of many of the items that we use or consume every day such as chocolate, cotton, electronics, footwear and coffee. The lack of transparency and scale of the problem makes it very difficult for your average consumer to avoid their role in it all. A company could easily be enabling some form of modern slavery without even realising it.

Without access to land or unable to make a living from it, agricultural workers often have few options for a sustainable livelihood. These workers often lack:

  • Formal contracts
  • Freedom of association
  • Basic health and safety assurances
  • Adequate wages amongst other challenges
  • Even employers with good intentions can find that they don’t earn enough to pay a living wage or invest in better equipment or safer working conditions.

means better working conditions

Fairtrade views forced labour, and any form of exploitation and abuse, as totally unacceptable. We have chosen to engage in areas with a known risk of forced labour because we believe that is where Fairtrade is needed the most.

We are committed to fighting the root causes or labour abuses and exploitation—like poverty, power imbalances and discrimination. If forced labour is suspected or found in Fairtrade supply chains, we immediately address these concerns and raise it to the appropriate authorities.

We actively work to prevent forced labor through:

  • Our Standards
  • Local and international prevention policies
  • Monitoring and building our knowledge of trafficking patterns
  • Training farmers, workers and managers on human rights
  • Supporting Fairtrade producer communities to establish a youth-inclusive, community-based monitoring and remediation system on child and forced labour.
  • Connecting companies with producers, to invest directly in tackling forced labour, in the communities from which they purchase Fairtrade commodities. The voluntary best practice section of Fairtrade’s Trader Standard also encourages this.

The good news is that ensuring workers’ rights is not just fair – it’s good business, too. When workers are paid and treated fairly, they stay on the job and build their organization. They have the chance to develop personally, and become managers and leaders. They support their families and invest in their communities.

With Fairtrade’s work spanning more than 30 years, we continue to fight poverty, discrimination, exploitation, a lack of transparency and power imbalances – the root causes of modern slavery.


look for the Fairtrade Mark. This means that a farmer or a worker, as well as all operators in the all operators in the supply chain, adhere to the Fairtrade Standards, a process that ensures transparency throughout the supply chain and is externally audited. The Mark also means farmers have received a fairer price, thanks to the Fairtrade Minimum Price, and access to the Fairtrade Premium, a fixed additional amount of money that provides farmers and workers with additional money to invest in improving the quality of their businesses and communities. This brings empowerment to many farming communities.


we offer unique insights and capability to help businesses improve their supply chains and work to counter modern slavery. Our system is built on rigorous standards that are transparent, publicly available and apply to all operators in the supply chain.


we support producer communities to establish a youth-inclusive, community-based monitoring and remediation system. We also connect companies with producers, to invest back into the community and tackle forced labour issues.

Safe working conditions lead to more efficient supply chains: A happy, safe and well-resourced workforce is good for business. When workers are paid and treated fairly, they continue working for organizations longer, their knowledge and buy-in deepens, and they are able to contribute as experts and leaders.

Happy workers are better workers

Padma Bai

Heading the village in
a Fair direction.

Lingu Bai

Entrepreneur of
a new future.


Running towards
a brighter tomorrow.

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