Thailand joins the global movement to combat forced labour

June 5, 2018

Thailand is the first country in Asia to ratify the ILO’s Forced Labour Protocol and becomes the 24th country globally.


On 4 June 2018, Thailand ratified the ILO Forced Labour Protocol thereby becoming the 24th country worldwide and the first in Asia to ratify the instrument. The Protocol, adopted by an overwhelming majority by the International Labour Conference in 2014, reinforces the international legal framework for combating all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, and calls on ratifying States to take measures to prevent forced labour, protect victims and ensure their access to remedies and compensation.

Mr. Adul Sangsingkeo, Minister of Labour of Thailand (L), Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director General (R)

According to 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 illegal profits every year. Several economic sectors are affected, including domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

On depositing the instrument of ratification, Mr. Adul Sangsingkeo, Minister of Labour of Thailand, said: “My Government’s decision to ratify the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (P 29) reflects its strong political will to join forces with the global community to eradicate forced labour. The ratification of the Protocol also demonstrates the Government’s commitments in improving and aligning its national legislative framework with international labour standards. The draft Prevention and Elimination of Forced Labour Act which is the organic law that incorporates measures defined in the Protocol, will be instrumental in ensuring that our cooperative endeavours bear concrete results in the elimination of forced labour and further guarantee decent employment opportunities for all workers in our country.”

Receiving the instrument of ratification, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, said: “I am pleased to receive this instrument of ratification, which bears witness to the commitment of Thailand to combat forced labour. This ratification is all the more important since the ILO’s global estimates show the urgency of adopting immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour and trafficking. Thailand’s commitment marks one more step towards the objective of 50 ratifications of the Protocol by the end of 2018, as promoted by the “50forfreedom” campaign.”

At the national level, Thailand has continued to reinforce its legislation and institutions to combat forced labour including trafficking in persons, particularly through the amendment to its Anti-Trafficking Act No. 2 B.E. 2558 to provide for enhanced penalties for trafficking offences; measures taken by the Government to strengthen law enforcement bodies, including enhancing their capacity to identify victims of trafficking; the establishment by legislation of different complaints mechanisms for victims of trafficking, as well as the signing of a certain number of MOUs with source countries in the Region to tackle trafficking in persons.

Since 2016, the ILO has been working closely with the Thai Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations as well as buyers to prevent and reduce unacceptable forms of work in the Thai fishing and seafood industry, through the “Ship to Shore Rights” Project.