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Latvia brings us closer to the 50forFreedom goal.

January 31, 2018

It becomes the 22nd country to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol.

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Latvia is the latest European Union country to heed the call by the European Union Council to member States to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol, bringing the total number of EU ratifications to 13.

Its formal commitment to the Protocol means it has to take effective measures to prevent forced labour, protect its victims and ensure their access to justice. The ratification follows on from a number of national measures the Latvian government has already taken to combat modern slavery.
In 2014, Latvia amended the Criminal Code relating to trafficking in persons in order to strengthen the legal framework.  It introduced a new definition of vulnerability to help identify victims of trafficking and a new law was passed making the use of the services of a victim of trafficking an offence punishable by up to five years in prison.

A National Action Plan entitled “Guidelines for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings 2014-2020” has been adopted, covering many areas including awareness-raising, research, compensation, identification and assistance of victims. The Government also set up, in 2014, a Criminal Intelligence Management Department with the aim of ensuring effective investigations into human trafficking.

In November 2015, the European Union Council authorised European Union Member States to ratify the Protocol, stating that “Member States should take the necessary steps to deposit their instruments of ratification of the Protocol with the Director-General of the International Labour Office as soon as possible, preferably by 31 December 2016.”

In November 2017, during a Global Conference on child labour and forced labour in Argentina, the European Union pledged to “promote actively swift ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol among EU members”.

The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to encourage at least 50 governments to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by the end of 2018.