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Forced labour: Commission urges EU countries to implement new ILO Protocol

11/09/2014
Forced labour: Commission urges EU countries to implement new ILO Protocol © 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

The European Commission proposed to the EU's Council of Ministers EU Member States should be authorised to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) new Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention.

The Protocol, together with a complementary Recommendation, was adopted by the 103rd session of the International Labour Conference in June.

Countries ratifying the ILO Protocol agree

  • to prevent the use of forced labour, in particular in the context of trafficking in human beings,
  • to improve the protection of victims, and
  • to provide access to compensation.

It also enhances international cooperation in the fight against forced or compulsory labour.

States ratifying the 2014 Protocol to the ILO Convention are required to develop a national policy and plan of action for the suppression of forced labour, in consultation with workers and employers’ organisations. They must take measures to prevent forced labour, including by informing vulnerable people and protecting them from possible fraudulent recruitment practices.

As regards the victims of forced labour, the Convention introduces an obligation to ensure their identification, release, protection, recovery and rehabilitation.

Further clauses require ratifying States

  • to provide access to remedies, including compensation, to all victims and
  • to ensure that competent authorities are entitled not to prosecute them for unlawful activities which they have been compelled to commit.

The ILO estimates that over 21 million people worldwide are today victims of forced or compulsory labour, which generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.