Suriname commits to ending modern slavery

June 20, 2019

On 3 June 2019, the Government of Suriname ratified ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, thereby becoming 4th country in Latin America to ratify the Protocol, and the 33rd worldwide.

Photo: -JvL-


Through the ratification of the Protocol, Suriname marks the ILO’s Centenary by expressing a strong commitment to tackle all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. This ratification is also a crucial step towards the objective of the 50 for Freedom campaign to get the first 50 countries to ratify the Protocol.

The Forced Labour Protocol requires governments to adopt new measures designed to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, to protect victims and guarantee them access to justice and compensation. According to the ILO, a total of 24.9 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, generating some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits. Victims are exploited in various sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry and mining. Forced labour takes different forms, including sexual exploitation, debt bondage and even trafficking in persons and slavery.

At the country level, Suriname has made significant efforts to combat trafficking in persons, by setting up a specialized Anti-Trafficking Unit responsible for investigating cases. This unit has already provided training courses on awareness, identification, and management of trafficking cases for several stakeholders in different regions of the country; it has also trained other specialized police units on the links between trafficking and other crimes. Moreover, the Criminal Code punishes trafficking in persons with penalties of up to nine years imprisonment. Suriname also took targeted actions to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, including through training of trainers, the implementation of a national child labour survey, and a National Action Plan on Child Labour, with the support of the CLEAR project.

By ratifying the Protocol, Suriname marks a crucial step towards the achievement of decent work and the delivering of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG target 8.7.