Denmark takes action on forced labour

July 6, 2017

It becomes the eleventh European country to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol, reinforcing its commitment to combat modern slavery in all its forms.

Photo: Smo42, Møns Klint


Denmark has ratified the Forced Labour Protocol at a ceremony at the International Labour Conference in Geneva.

“Forced labour has no place in a civilized world,” said Troels Lund Poulsen, Denmark’s Minister of Employment. “It is a severe violation of basic rights and human dignity. This is also the case when forced labour occurs in more modern forms of slavery. Today we see that people by deception are recruited by cynical traffickers to face threats and coercion, to end up in debt and miserable working conditions, often far from their homes and relatives. Many of them are women and children. It is important that we all sign up and give strong support to ILO’s important work in this area and thereby bring hope to the many victims of forced labour worldwide of whom there are still too many.”

Signing ceremonyMr Troels Lund POULSEN, Minister for Employment of DENMARK and Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

Speaking at the ratification ceremony, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder remarked, “This ratification is further testimony to Denmark’s ongoing commitment to promote and implement fundamental rights at work.”

The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, generating some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits. Victims are exploited by unscrupulous people in various sectors of both the formal and informal economy, such as agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, manufacturing and mining.

Seventeen countries worldwide have now ratified the Protocol since it was unanimously adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2014.

The Protocol requires member States to take further steps to prevent forced labour in all its forms, as well as to provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies, including compensation.

Denmark has a strong record in combatting forced labour.  It was one of the first countries to ratify the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), in 1932, and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), in 1958. It has also developed a strong legal and institutional framework to combat trafficking in persons, most notably in 2002 with the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Human Trafficking and the adoption of the fourth National Action Plan (NAP) against Trafficking in Human Beings, (2015-2018), which covers the identification and protection of victims and the prosecution of traffickers.