Austria renews commitment to combat forced labour

September 1, 2019

On 12 September 2019, Austria became the 39th country worldwide to ratify the ILO Forced Labour Protocol.



By ratifying the Forced Labour Protocol, Austria commits to tackle all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. In particular, the Protocol requires governments to adopt effective measures to prevent all forms of forced labour, protect victims and guarantee them access to justice and compensation.

Forced labour takes different forms, including extreme forms of labour or sexual exploitation, debt bondage, trafficking in persons and slavery-like practices. According to the ILO global estimates, 24.9 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, of whom 4.8 million are victims of sexual exploitation. In the private sector, forced labour generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits. Victims are exploited in various sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry and mining.

Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva, said that Austria was glad to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol on the occasion of the centenary of the International Labour Organization.” With this ratification, we stress once more the relevance and singularity of the International Labour Organization when it comes to setting international standards for the world of work.”

“I am pleased to receive this instrument of ratification, which bears witness to the commitment of Austria to combat trafficking in persons and forced labour in all its forms”, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “By ratifying the Protocol, Austria is moving ahead towards the achievement of decent work and the delivering, at the country level, of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, SDG target 8.7”.

Austria has made significant efforts to combat trafficking in persons, by establishing a task force in 2004 aimed at combating human trafficking. It has also adopted its fifth National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking (2018-2020) which includes measures for national coordination, prevention, protection of victims, prosecution and international cooperation. Moreover, the Austrian working group on trafficking for labour exploitation has developed a list of indicators to support the identification of victims of trafficking for labour exploitation, as well as guidance on how to report suspected cases to the Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service.