16 June 2014
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour. The Protocol, supported by a Recommendation, was overwhelmingly adopted by government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference.
The new Protocol brings the existing ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labour, adopted in 1930, into the modern era to address practices such as human trafficking. The accompanying Recommendation provides technical guidance on its implementation. The Protocol strengthens the international legal framework by creating new obligations to prevent forced labour, to protect victims and to provide access to remedy, such as compensation for material and physical harm.
It requires governments to take measures to better protect workers, in particular migrant labourers, from fraudulent and abusive recruitment practices and emphasises the role of employers and workers in the fight against forced labour.
“Forced labour violates the human rights and dignity of millions of women and men, girls and boys. It contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and stands in the way of the achievement of decent work for all,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
There are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide. A recent ILO report estimates that US$ 150 billion in illegal profits are made in the private economy each year through modern forms of slavery.
More than half of the victims of forced labour are women and girls, primarily in domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation, while men and boys were primarily in forced economic exploitation in agriculture, construction, and mining.