Sustainable Development Goals - Alliance 8.7

Alliance 8.7: Time for a rethink in fighting forced labour in Africa

With millions of African victims of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, the continent needs to redefine its priorities for an inclusive strategic partnership to boost the implementation of the Alliance SDG 8.7.

Press release | 08 September 2016
ABIDJAN (ILO News) - Under the leadership of Ms Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire and Mr Aeneas Chuma, Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Africa, the Abidjan 2016 Consultation on SDG 8.7 for North and West Africa focused on setting key priorities for concerted action to tackle child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.

"I am convinced that the organization of this sub regional consultation will lay the foundation for a global alliance against child labour and trafficking, a phenomenon that unfortunately affects most of our countries," said Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and President of the National Committee to fight against trafficking, exploitation and child labour.

"I am firmly convinced that the establishment of this alliance can be beneficial on many levels, as it will allow member states to strengthen their efforts in the fight against child labour and trafficking. But it will also help to share experience that could foster significant progress and generate positive results in the decline of this scourge", the First Lady stated at the opening ceremony of the sub regional consultation on SDG 8.7 in Africa organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Some 168 million children are forced to work, about half in hazardous work and other worst forms of labour. 21 million people are victims of forced labour, which annually generates $ 150 billion in illicit profits. More than half of the victims of forced labour are women and girls, and a quarter are children under 18 years.

"So, to advance the sustainable development goal 8.7. We can no longer do business as usual. We cannot enact the same policies or implement the same programmes and expect different results", underlined Aeneas Chuma, Assistant Director General of the ILO and Regional Director for Africa.

"And that is why we are all here in Abidjan. This first sub-regional consultation is an excellent opportunity to develop a common position for North and West Africa before the official launch of the Alliance 8.7. in New York on September 21, 2016", Chuma added referring to sessions prior to the UN General Assembly.

Rethinking the participatory approach

The SDG 8.7 Alliance calls for a rethink on how stakeholders work together to achieve this goal. This high-level meeting in Abidjan should lead to recommendations on how best to mobilize all key initiatives, particularly in North and West Africa, to end forced labour, modern slavery and trafficking of people by 2030 and to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.

"I wish that these ongoing meetings can help to initiate and boost a sub-regional cooperation for a more effective fight against child labour and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking", underscored the Minister of Employment and Social Protection, Moussa Dosso.

According to Kacou Diagou, President of the Federation of Employers' Organisations of West Africa (FOPAO) and President of the CGECI, "no country, no region, no community can act alone. An alliance is therefore required between all stakeholders: governments, employers' organizations and Trade unions, Civil Society, Academia, Experts and Institutions".

“Roles in the Alliance need to be defined to fit the capacities and specialisations of different stakeholders”, echoed Mr John Odah, Executive Secretary of Trade Unions of West Africa.

"Abidjan 2016 for Alliance ODD 8.7", which brings together some 80 delegates from a dozen of African Member States, is a sub-regional consultation process aimed at meeting the challenges and key opportunities in the implementation of the Alliance SDG 8.7 for West and North Africa and to define how the alliance could help in accelerating the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs).