“By ratifying this Protocol, the Netherlands first and foremost wants to convey a political message: forced labour is simply unacceptable,” said Monique van Daalen, the Ambassador & Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN in Geneva.

“For our open Dutch economy strong multilateral institutions are crucial,” said the Ambassador. “The Netherlands therefore is a staunch supporter of the ILO’s mandate to promote Decent Work for all and to combat abusive practices such as child and forced labour, including through its normative work,” she continued.

Netherlands Ceremony

Deborah Greenfield, ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy stressed, “By ratifying the Protocol, the Netherlands has further demonstrated its strong commitment to combat forced labour. This is an important step in the Fifty for Freedom initiative, and we hope the Netherlands will inspire other countries to make the same commitment.”

Over the last decade, the Netherlands has put particular emphasis on combatting human trafficking. A national task force was established by the government in 2008, which leads and implements the country’s National Action Plans against human trafficking. The Netherlands also hosts a National Rapporteur on trafficking in human beings and sexual violence against children.

These actions have led to several concrete results, with already implemented measures including training activities undertaken by the labour inspectorate (SZW); the specialization in human trafficking of public prosecutors in each Public Prosecution Service District; training of police officers in all regional units, as well as of the judiciary. Human trafficking was criminalized in the Netherlands 2013.

Becoming the 12th European country to ratify the Protocol on Forced Labour, the Netherlands is now showing its strong commitment to combatting all forms of Forced Labour. In November 2015, the European Union Council encouraged 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.”

“The Protocol – with its attention to issues such as trafficking of persons and its focus on access to remedy for victims of forced labour – will help to ensure that ILO standards are up to date and address all the major challenges we encounter in today’s world of work,” emphasized Ambassador van Daalen.

With the Netherlands’ ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol, a total of 18 countries worldwide have now committed to this international treaty since it was adopted at the International Labour Conference in 2014.

The Protocol requires States to adopt effective measures to prevent forced labour, including bonded labour, forced domestic labour as well as human trafficking, and to provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies, including compensation.