Home Office minister Karen Bradley and ILO director-general Guy Ryder.
Home Office minister Karen Bradley and ILO director-general Guy Ryder.

UK signs up to ILO agreement to tackle slavery

3 February 2016

The UK has become one of the first nations to sign an agreement to combat forced labour, people trafficking and other forms of modern slavery.

The government has joined the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention. So far the only other countries to sign the agreement are Niger and Norway. 

The protocol was adopted at the International Labour Conference in 2014 to add new measures to the Forced Labour Convention of 1930.

It requires signatories to take steps to prevent forced labour, provide victims with protection and access to effective remedies and to carry out due diligence to prevent and respond to the risk of forced labour.

Research from the ILO has shown that profits from forced labour are highest in developed economies. The ILO estimates that 21m people are victims of forced labour around the world, and generate approximately $150bn a year in illegal profit.

The main sectors affected are domestic work, agriculture, fishing and construction. Women and girls, in particular, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. 

ILO director-general Guy Ryder, pictured with UK Home Office minister Karen Bradley at the signing ceremony, said: “The United Kingdom’s ratification is a clear sign that global momentum is building in the fight against these abhorrent practices that demean and enslave millions around the world.”

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