Spain joins the global movement to combat forced labour

September 20, 2017

Spain has become the 19th country worldwide and the 13th in Europe to ratify the ILO Forced Labour Convention Protocol, demonstrating its firm commitment to taking action and giving a new impetus to combating forced labour in all its forms.


“With the ratification of this instrument, Spain is once again reinforcing its close collaboration with the ILO and, as the country that has ratified the most ILO Conventions, is consolidating its leading position in defending the improvement of working conditions,” said Fatima Báñez García, Minister of Employment and Social Security.

“I am pleased to receive this instrument of ratification, which once again bears witness to the continued commitment of Spain to combating forced labour”, said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization. “This ratification comes just one day after the publication of global estimates of modern slavery, which show the urgency of adopting immediate and effective measures to eradicate this crime. Spain’s commitment is an important step towards the objective of 50 ratifications of the Protocol by the end of 2018, as promoted by the “50forfreedom” campaign.

According to the global estimates, there are 24.9 million victims of forced labour throughout the world, of whom 4.8 million are victims of sexual exploitation. In the private sector, forced labour generates USD 150 billion in profits every year. These victims are subjected to exploitation in several economic sectors, including domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

Spain has a long-standing record of taking action to combat forced labour. In 1932, it was one of the first countries to ratify the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). It has developed a robust legal and institutional framework to combat human trafficking, particularly through the constant updating of the penalties set out in the Penal Code; the adoption in 2009 of a first Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons for sexual exploitation; and the specific role played by the labour inspection services in the detection of criminal action arising out of labour exploitation and trafficking in persons.