Forced labour

Iceland ratifies the 2014 Protocol to the 1930 ILO Forced Labour Convention, as part of a renewed global effort to eradicate all forms of forced labour

News | 14 June 2017
Iceland has just ratified the instrument of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, thereby becoming the fifteenth country to ratify this instrument. Iceland joins the nine other European countries to have ratified the Protocol since it was adopted in June 2014 by an overwhelming majority by the International Labour Conference in 2014.

Through this ratification, which took place on 14 June 2017, Iceland made a formal commitment to apply this international instrument, which gives new impetus to action against all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. It requires States to adopt effective measures to prevent forced labour and to provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies, including compensation.

The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, generating approximately US$150 billion a year in illicit profits. Forced labour takes different forms, from forced sexual exploitation to debt bondage or even trafficking in persons and slavery.

On depositing the instrument of ratification, Mr. Thorsteinn Víglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality declared that "The importance of the protocol lies in the fact that it tackles new and more sophisticated forms of forced labour. The victims of forced labour and trafficking in persons are often migrant workers. Many of them are women and girls primarily in domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation. During the last years Iceland has experienced increased influx of migrant workers which needs protection. The protocol is a good instrument for governments and the social partners to form their policies in this respect.”

On receiving the instrument of ratification of the Protocol, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder stressed that the ratification of the Protocol is a further testimony to Iceland’s ongoing commitment to promote and implement fundamental rights at work. This ratification brings us one step closer towards reaching the target of the 50forfreedom campaign – 50 ratifications by the end of 2018. Iceland has been engaged in combatting forced labour for a long time. In relation to the fight against the scourge of trafficking in persons, Iceland has developed a strong legislative framework with the adoption, as early as in 2003, of amendments to the Penal Code and the launch of a first campaign against trafficking in women. In April 2013, the Government adopted its second Action Plan to combat trafficking in human beings for the period 2013-2016, which covers four main areas : prevention and training; assistance and protection of victims; investigation and prosecution of cases; co-ordination, co-operation and evaluation.”