Mali becomes the third African country to ratify the Protocol of 2014 on forced labour

News | 01 June 2016
GENEVA (ILO News) – Mali has just ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, thereby reinforcing the global movement for combating forced labour in all its forms, including trafficking in persons.

Through this ratification, Mali follows in the footsteps of Niger, Norway, the United Kingdom and Mauritania, the first States to make a formal commitment to implement the Protocol.

The Protocol, adopted in 2014 by a very large majority by the International Labour Conference, complements the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). It requires States to take effective measures to prevent forced labour and to provide victims with protection and access to justice and compensation.

Fassoun Coulibaly, National Director of Labour, reaffirmed his government’s commitment to eliminating forced labour. “The Republic of Mali has always wanted workers to have access to decent jobs and to be protected from the abuses arising from forced labour, child labour, trafficking in persons and modern slavery.”

“By ratifying the Protocol, Mali is making a commitment to ending forced labour and mobilizing the necessary resources to achieve this. We hold the ILO leadership in high esteem and we appeal to other countries to combat this global scourge,” he added.

A total of 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world. The ILO estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.

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 debt bondage or even trafficking in persons and slavery.

“With the ratification of the Protocol by Mali, following on from Niger and Mauritania, Africa is demonstrating its involvement in efforts to eradicate forced labour on the continent,” said Beate Andrees, Chief of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch at the ILO.

“This ratification by Mali sends a strong message to other countries in Africa and elsewhere to also take immediate measures and fulfil their obligations with regard to the Protocol: to prevent forced labour, to protect the victims by providing them with effective remedies, and to prosecute the perpetrators. The concept of a world without forced labour will only become a reality through international support,” concluded Ms Andrees.

This ratification demonstrates the ongoing commitment of Mali to combating forced labour. By becoming a member of the International Labour Organization in 1960, Mali immediately accepted the obligations arising from the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and then, in 1962, those of the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105). Recently, in 2012, Mali reinforced its legislative framework for combating forced labour by adopting the Act on action to combat trafficking in persons and similar practices and by establishing the National Coordinating Committee to combat trafficking in persons and similar practices.

Furthermore, Mali has shown a remarkable commitment to international labour standards by ratifying, alongside the Protocol on forced labour, three employment instruments relating to the public employment service, employment policy and private employment agencies, and also two occupational safety and health instruments: the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), and the Protocol of 2002 to that Convention.