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ILO launches a new toolkit to support national efforts against forced labour

December 2, 2020

As the most vulnerable people are the hardest hit by the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, it is all the more urgent to prevent them from forced labour and protect them from abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices.

Photo: Former bonded labourers working in a stone quarry in Bajura, Nepal, 2017 (© ILO/N. Bhattarai)

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For the millions of workers trapped in vulnerable situations, the COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated conditions of informality, poverty and exploitation. This has led to rise in cases of child labour, forced labour and discrimination.

On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the ILO launches a new Toolkit on Developing National Action Plans (NAPs) on Forced Labour, to support governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in protecting the most vulnerable from forced labour, thus contributing to achieving Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Target 8.7 aims at eradicating child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.

The toolkit comprises of detailed guidance and national examples that will aid national stakeholders in formulating their own action plans, coordinating its implementation, and ensuring its smooth governance and evaluation.

To date, 47 countries have ratified ILO’s forced labour protocol (P29). The protocol is a legally binding instrument, requiring States to take effective measures with regard to prevention of forced labour, protection and access to justice of victims. In particular, it requires countries to develop national policy and plans of actions in consultation with social partners.

It is time for other countries to follow suit. There is an urgent need to transform the lives of the 25 million of men, women and children, trapped in forced labour. These people are deceived and coerced, working in slave-like conditions in sectors such as domestic work, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. No country is spared.

Strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work is critical to building back more resilient and equitable societies. If we really want to leave no one behind, we must put the most vulnerable at the centre of our policy responses, especially in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.