Forced labour

Sweden joins the global movement against forced labour

News | 14 June 2017
Sweden 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. To date sixteen member states have ratified the Protocol, among them 10 countries from Europe.

Through this ratification, which took place on 14 June 2017, Sweden has made a formal commitment to apply this international instrument, which gives new impetus to action against all forms of forced labour. 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.

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. Victims are exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, manufacturing, mining and other economic activities. Women and girls, in particular, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

On depositing the instrument of ratification, Ms Ylva Johansson, Minister for Employment and Integration said: “In ratifying the Protocol, Sweden demonstrates its strong commitment to continue the work to prevent and combat all forms of forced labour and labour exploitation and to protect all victims, to reach the objective of eradicating forced labour. It also demonstrates a strong support to the efficient work already carried out by the ILO in this regard. We all have to take our responsibility for this important work, and this ratification is one step to do so.”

On receiving the instrument of ratification of the Protocol, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder recalled that Sweden had a strong record of support for ILO normative activities, as illustrated with the ratification of 93 conventions and 3 Protocols. The Swedish ratification of the Protocol is a clear sign that global momentum is building in the fight against this scourge. Their ratification brings us one step closer towards reaching the target of the 50forfreedom campaign – 50 ratifications by 2018. Along with strengthening its legal framework, Sweden has also developed a robust institutional framework to combat trafficking in persons for labour and sexual exploitation, for instance with the work of the National Task Force against Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings, and with the development of a National Referral Mechanism (NRM) aimed at improving referral as well as increasing the protection and assistance of victims of trafficking.

This article has been developed in the framework of the "50 for Freedom" campaign (ILO Bridge project)