Hope for Justice offers anti-slavery advice to Norwegian government

Norway’s Minister of International Development invited global anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice to input on the country’s national strategy for tackling modern-day slavery.

Hope for Justice’s CEO Ben Cooley, and Norway Director, Sondre Høysæter, joined Dag Inge Ulstein, the Norwegian Minister of International Development, to discuss how businesses can play their part in identifying and preventing exploitation, as well as how they can protect their supply chains from being infiltrated by human traffickers.

The minister tweeted: “Excellent meeting with Ben Cooley, brother in arms in the fight to end modern slavery.

“Norway is a committed partner, setting up a development programme. Important with support for research, digital ID, legislation and targeted interventions at country level. #LeaveNoOneBehind.”

At a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Modern Slavery, Urmila Bhoola, the minister also said that the government expects Norwegian companies to “respect human rights and make due diligence [a priority].”

Hope for Justice has been invited to join an external resource group alongside other agencies, set up by Norway’s International Development and Foreign Affairs ministries. The group has contributed recommendations for the country’s new Development Programme to Combat Modern Slavery.

Hope for Justice has also advised on the framework for an international programme, and what this should address.

Sondre Høysæter, Hope for Justice’s Norway Director, said: “We commend the Norwegian government for the work they are doing to protect the most vulnerable in society. It cannot be underestimated how vital it is that governments have the will to defend those who are at risk of being preyed upon by human traffickers.

“A big part of Hope for Justice’s work involves collaborating with governments to create strategies and legislation that are needed to tackle the issue of modern day slavery around the world.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the priorities of the Norwegian Minister of International Development in ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected and that exploitation is prevented.”

Dag Inge Ulstein was formerly a member of the Bergen City Council, with responsibility for finance, innovation and real estate. Since being appointed to government, much of his work has focused on the issue of modern slavery.

In May last year, the minister visited one of Hope for Justice’s projects in Uganda, where he met with children and staff at a Lighthouse – short-term care facilities which offer a safe haven for children who have been abused and exploited or who have been vulnerable to such exploitation while living on the streets.

Norway’s government is producing a development programme to combat modern slavery and investigating the need for specific new legislation, similar to the Modern Slavery Act in the UK

These commitments all recognise a need for the business sector to take action.