Sierra Leone ratified the 2014 ILO Protocol on Forced Labour on 25 August 2021, along with eight others ILO Conventions. In doing so, the country demonstrates its strong commitment to eradicate forced labour and human trafficking.
The Protocol requires States to adopt effective measures to prevent forced labour in all its forms, and to provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies, including compensation. Forced labour victims may be found in various sectors such as domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.
The Sierra Leone Ambassador and Permanent Representative, His Excellency Mr Lansana Alison Gberie declared “As a government, we are committed to improving the labour standards of the workforce in Sierra Leone (…). By ratifying these nine ILO Conventions and Protocols, we have taken steps to eliminate compulsory and forced labour, eliminate discrimination against migrant workers and domestic workers, abolish child labour (…)”.
Guy Ryder, the Director General of the ILO, welcomed these ratifications by Sierra Leone: “They demonstrate its resilience in ensuring that recovery from crisis is founded on human rights and decent work”. “The workplace is a good place to start improving the life of the people, promoting peace and preventing conflict, enabling crisis recovery and building resilience”, he added.
Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting not only the health but also the livelihoods of millions of workers around the world. The economic repercussions of the health crisis are likely to push more vulnerable workers into forced labour situations.
In order to achieve target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour by 2030, countries like Sierra Leone must place fundamental principles and rights at work at the centre of recovery efforts.