Last week the United Kingdom became the third country, after Niger and Norway, to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention. This constitutes a major step towards ending the scourge of modern slavery and paves the way for other governments to follow in the future.
Potential forced labour victims within Britain, as well as those abroad hired by companies operating out of the UK, enjoy some of the strongest protections against exploitation in the world. The United Kingdom is among the earliest signatories of the 1930 Forced Labour Convention and the first European state to address slavery and human trafficking at a corporate disclosure level through its 2015 Modern Slavery Act. The safeguards granted in these two legal instruments will now be further strengthened by the new obligations the country has agreed to under this additional Protocol.
Forced labour is a problem of global magnitude, generating higher profits in developed economies and the European Union. Forced labour takes on a variety of forms. According to the ILO, an estimated 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, generating $150 billion a year in illicit profits.
If this system is to be abolished once and for all, there is a pressing need for all of the world’s countries to pick up the fight against modern slavery. Join the 50forFreedom campaign and ask your government to ratify the ILO Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention.