Malawi ratifies ILO Forced Labour Protocol

December 6, 2019

Malawi has ratified the ILO Forced Labour Protocol, becoming the 42nd country worldwide to do so. The ILO Forced Labour Protocol calls on countries to take effective measures to prevent forced labour, protect victims and ensure their access to justice.

Photo: Erik Torner


Since the beginning of the year, 15 countries reaffirmed their commitment to eradicate modern slavery by ratifying the ILO Forced Labour Protocol. Since 2014, 11 African countries have ratified the instrument, committing to take effective measures to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, to protect victims and guarantee them access to effective remedies and compensation.

“In line with our national pledge for action to eradicate forced labour and child labour, and having already ratified all eight of the fundamental ILO conventions, we are pleased to have ratified the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol”, said the Honourable Martha Lunji Mhone Chanjo, M.P., Minister of Labour, Skills and Innovation. “We also recognise that, while ratification is one thing, domestication is another. We are therefore committed, in collaboration with workers and employers, to ensuring effective domestication of the Protocol, including by developing a national policy and plan for action, and by taking specific measures, such as awareness raising amongst employers and vulnerable populations, strengthening labour inspection services, and by addressing the root causes and factors that heighten the risks of forced labour”,

“Through its ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol, Malawi is reinforcing its formal commitment to eliminating all forms of forced or compulsory labour including trafficking in persons”, said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO.

The Government of Malawi has made significant efforts in recent years to combat trafficking in persons, including passage of the Trafficking in Persons Act in 2015 and the establishment of the National Coordination Committee against Trafficking in Persons.

Following-up on the ratification, the Director of the ILO’s Country Office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, Mr. George Okutho emphasized that “forced labour violates human rights and dignity, contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and stands in the way of the achievement of decent work for all women and men. Therefore, we congratulate Malawi for ratifying the Forced Labour Protocol. Comprehensive measures of prevention, protection, and remedy, such as compensation and rehabilitation, and sanctions against perpetrators, are necessary to achieve the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour. The ILO stands ready to support Malawi in ensuring the effective implementation of these measures called for by the Protocol”.

According to the ILO, about 25 million women, men and children are victims of forced labour worldwide. In Malawi, the ILO is implementing development cooperation activities that are contributing to the eradication of forced labour and child labour, including the ‘Accelerating action for the elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa’ (ACCEL Africa) project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. From 2020, the ILO plans to implement a new development cooperation project to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector in Malawi which will include a focus on child labour.

On the same day, Malawi also ratified three ILO conventions relating to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), as part of the ILO Centenary Ratification Initiative. Malawi’s second Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP 2019 – 2022) includes as a key goal improvement of the quality and coverage of Malawi’s occupational safety and health system, including enhancement of the legal and policy framework, occupational health services, compliance, and institutional capacity.

For more information, contact:

Allan Mulenga, Office Support Assistant, ILO Country Office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique: mulenga@ilo.org