Forced labour

Mauritania becomes the second African country to commit to ending modern slavery

The country is among the first to formally implement the 2014 Protocol to the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention No.29.

News | 14 March 2016
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Mauritania has ratified the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, reinforcing thereby the global movement against forced labour in all its forms, including human trafficking.

Mauritania follows Niger, Norway and the United Kingdom, as one of the first states to formally commit to implement the Protocol. The Protocol, adopted in 2014 by an overwhelming majority by the International Labour Conference, supplements Convention (No. 29) 1930, requiring States to take effective measures for prevention, protection of victims and ensuring their access to justice and compensation.

Hamoud Ould T’Feil Ould Bowbe, Mauritania’s Director General of Labour, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to stamping out forced labour: “It goes without saying that the Protocol will strengthen and supplement the framework for penalizing slave or similar forced labour practices, in particular by promoting access to rights, public information and awareness raising among those at risk, including minors and employers, and the development of training enabling professionals to identify and protect victims.”

The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide, generating approximately US$ 150 billion in illicit profits annually. Victims are exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry, mining and other economic activities. Forced labour takes different forms, from forced sexual exploitation to bonded labour, human trafficking and slavery.

Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, Aeneas Chapinga Chuma said that “the Regional Office for Africa welcomes Mauritania’s renewed efforts towards combatting slavery-like practices. The ratification of the ILO Convention is a first concrete step in putting in place the legal framework to protect people from the scourge of human exploitation and forced labour. We commend Niger and Mauritania for becoming the first African countries to ratify the ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention.”

Since independence in 1961, Mauritania has ratified the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29) 1930, and in 1997, the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105), 1957. Since then, Mauritania has continued to strengthen the legislative framework to fight against forced labour enacting a law on suppression of trafficking in 2003, and others in 2007 and 2015 criminalizing slavery and slavery-like practices.

Mauritania has joined the Bridge project which aims to strengthen the capacity of the relevant ministries and stakeholders to develop, implement and monitor policies and national action plans on forced labour, provide capacity building to improve law enforcement, and support public awareness campaigns to address all forms of forced labour. Besides Mauritania, the four-year project, which is funded by the US Department of Labour, will also be implemented in Nepal and Peru.