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Costa Rica reaffirms its commitment to eradicating forced labour

January 8, 2021

On 16 November 2020, Costa Rica became the 47th country worldwide to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol and the fifth to do so in Latin America and the Caribbean. Costa Rica reinforces its firm commitment to combat all forms of forced labour by this ratification and joins the global movement to fight this scourge.

Photo: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica (© Der Joker)

©lisakristine.com

On 16 November 2020, Costa Rica became the 47th country worldwide to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol and the fifth to do so in Latin America and the Caribbean. Costa Rica reinforces its firm commitment to combat all forms of forced labour by this ratification and joins the global movement to fight this scourge.

The Protocol requires countries to take strong and effective measures to prevent and combat forced labour, which includes bonded labour, domestic servitude, or human trafficking, and to provide victims with protection and access to justice, including compensation.

According to the ILO, about 25 million women, men and children are victims of forced labour worldwide out of which 4.8 million face sexual exploitation.  Forced labour generates annual profits of a staggering US$150,000 million in the private sector.  Victims are found in various sectors such as domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

“By joining this protocol, we renew our commitment to combat and prevent forced labour in all its forms. And, we join forces in the movement towards universal adoption of this instrument, so that we as a team are able to eradicate this scourge from our societies,” said Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the U.N.

After receiving the instrument of ratification, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Mr. Guy Ryder, said:

“I am very pleased to receive this instrument of ratification which once again reinforces Costa Rica’s firm commitment to combat forced labour and ensure the implementation of the principles and fundamental rights at work.  Through this ratification, and as a pathfinder country of the Alliance 8.7, Costa Rica actively contributes to the achievement of decent work and the achievement of the United Nations sustainable development goals for 2030. Costa Rica’s ratification is a crucial step that has brought us closer to our goal of 50 Protocol ratifications set out by the 50forfreedom campaign.”

Costa Rica has had a long experience in fighting against forced labour.  In recent years, the country has taken measures to strengthen the legal and institutional framework against trafficking in persons. In particular, it has set up a National Coalition against the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons. This coalition is responsible for the development, implementation and assessment of policies against human trafficking. It has also established an “Immediate Response Team” (IRT) that coordinates protection, assistance and rehabilitation measures for the victims. The IRT has developed an intervention protocol that improves the coordination of the support to the victims.