A Global Movement Against Forced Labour

It is June and the International Labour Conference (ILC) is soon to commence.

Once a year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, workers, and employer delegates of the ILO member states to establish and adopts international labour standards. The Conference is open to discuss as well as to resolve key social and labour issues.

forced labour child labour

Jack is one of many board members of the ILO. His responsibilities involve representing the global movement to governments and international non-governmental organizations. Jack believes that it is important to represent the movement in the global discussion to present detailed concerns and solutions to applicable issues such as forced labour. During the ILC he is planning to talk to the attendees about the global movement.

What is the global movement against forced labour?

The global movement, also known as the global alliance, has been established to end forced labour in the modern world once and for all. According to ILO director-general Guy Ryder “A global alliance against forced labour which holds that it is neither necessary nor tolerable to countenance a form of abuse which has no place nor justification in today’s world seems to me the only acceptable response. The ILO is ready to do what it can in such a global partnership“.  The Protocol is a legally binding treaty where governments take new measures to prevent modern slavery. The ILO states that the global movement works on three levels, protection, prevention and compensation.

Jack received a lot of positive comments as well as questionable thoughts from the ILC attendees. One particular nation was unsure whether the global movement will work because a treaty on forced labour already exists; however, it did not change the continuous growth of slavery. Jack strongly believes that it can make a difference if every nation comes together and stands against slavery. He tried to explain it in further depth to convince nations to join the global movement.

Did a treaty on forced labour exist before?

A treaty on forced labour does exist: the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), which most countries signed in 1930. However, the ILO launched an intensified initiative against forced labour. It added new elements to The Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention (1930) that address the primary causes to eliminate slavery for good. New policy compliments and reinforces existing international law.

The 50 for Freedom Campaign was formed in 2014 to encouraging countries to sign the protocol to increase the chances to overcome forced labour. The campaign is led by the ILO and its partners and its aim is to ‘give particular attention to the role of international financial and  development institutions concerned with poverty reduction, examining how a commitment to the eradication of forced labour can help meet their targets of poverty reduction’. The ILO is certain that a wide ratification of the protocol will be a clear sign that any type of forced labour must be abolished.

Which countries have joined the global movement against forced labour until now?

According to the ILO, six countries (France, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Norway, and the United Kingdom) have joined the global movement against forced labour and deposited the instrument of ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.

International Labour Organization child labour

As Jack urges more nations to join the movement, he sees that many countries are reticent. They say they want to study the detail in more detail to ensure that they have the ability to implement and enforce new rules. However, Jack thinks it is more to do with their bias towards growth at any cost. GDP growth is a strong driver of policy in many developing nations, and the hope is that the benefits of this growth will trickle down to the masses. In some countries there is evidence that this happens, but in other countries the evidence shows the exact opposite. It really depends on the circumstances of the country and the way policies are implemented. Either way, Jack is frustrated that developing nations do not see the need to protect their people and growth at any cost is not justifiable, especially not for the current generation that will not benefit in any real way from the trickle-down effect.

What are the advantages of the movement and how does it help abolish forced labour?

As the Policy is an international treaty, countries have to ratify the Protocol before it can be enforced. The Protocol requires countries to secure the release, recovery, protection and rehabilitation of individuals that face forced labour. The ILO states that countries that ratify the Protocol are obligated to take immediate measures for the protection of victims and ensuring access to justice and compensation in all industries through strict legislation. The ILO ensures that all countries pledge to improve the situation in their nation by reinforcing the international labour standards and protecting their citizens from the abuses arising from any type of forced labour. Countries will have to strengthen their labour inspections and other services in order to protect their workers from being exploited. The help of countries, organisations and citizens can promote this global movement.  Governments are expected to raise awareness, educate and spread knowledge to their citizens about the crimes of human trafficking, forced labour, and child labour.

The ILO estimates that 21 million people globally are victims of forced labour including industries in agriculture, domestic work, and economic activities. We strongly believe that slavery and a civil society cannot coexist in our modern world and are highly incompatible. Chanzez will contribute to the community and help individuals live a better life. We cannot employ or help all 21 million people globally but we work hard to give opportunities to our employees. We protect our employees and support the growth of the community through providing safe and reliable job opportunities at our production facility.

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About the Author

Valentina is passionate in expressing her voice through her writing, which she hopes will have a social impact. She grew up as a third culture kid that always fought for what is right and achieved a BA Hons. in International Business in order to understand the business world more clearly and leave a possible mark on society. Currently she is working for an ethical start-up company called Chanzez. Chanzez has been set up to provide people with chances whether they are people who design clothes, people who work to make clothes or people who want to be able to buy ethically produced clothes.

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