Norway ratification clinches landmark ILO forced labour protocol
GENEVA (ILO News) – Norway has become the second country, after Niger, to ratify the Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention . The move is considered significant as ILO binding instruments generally provide that an adopted protocol only comes into force 12 months after being ratified by two member states. Following the Norwegian Government’s action, the new framework to fight forced labour and modern slavery will come into force on 9 November 2016.
“Norway’s ratification will help millions of children, women and men reclaim their freedom and dignity. It represents a strong call to other member States to renew their commitment to protect forced labourers, where ever they may be,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
In 2014, government, employer and worker delegates at the International Labour Conference (ILC) voted overwhelmingly to adopt a Protocol and Recommendation which supplement the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).
The Protocol complements the existing Forced Labour Convention (1930) , adding new measures including provisions on prevention, protection and access to justice, as well as requiring public and private employers to exercise “due diligence” to avoid modern slavery in their business practices and supply chains.
Commenting on his country’s role in bringing the protocol into force, Norway’s Ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations Steffen Kongstad, said: “It is important for all countries to recognize the issue of modern slavery and that it must be a top priority on their agendas to eradicate it once and for all.”
The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, generating approximately US$150 billion a year in illicit profits. Victims are exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, manufacturing, mining and other economic activities. Women and girls, in particular, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.
ILO research shows that forced labour is not an issue solely in developing economies. Profits from the forced labour industry are higher in developed economies and the European Union than they are anywhere else in the world.
To promote ratification of the Protocol, the ILO has launched a new global campaign to end modern slavery, in partnership with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to mobilize public support and influence in at least 50 countries to ratify the ILO’s Forced Labour Protocol by 2018.