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									  The ILO and victims of
      forced labour
  and human trafficking

      Caroline O’Reilly
ILO Special Action Programme
  to Combat Forced Labour
1. What is forced labour

2. Number of victims of forced labour – who is most

3. The role of workers’ organizations

4. The role of the private sector and business
                   The labour exploitation continuum

                      Decent Work =
    Work in freedom, equity, security and human dignity
Forced labour                                    Decent work

                  Labour exploitation

                 in human
What is forced labour?

   ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930
                 (No. 29)

   « All work or service that is exacted
     from any person under the menace
      of any penalty and for which the
        said person has not offered
            himself voluntarily »
                        Indicators of forced labour and trafficking

                     Excessive recruitment fees
                     Deception about type, location or conditions of work
•   Recruitment      Compulsory deposit
                     Substitution of contracts

                                    Withholding or non-payment of wages
•   Coercion in employment          Retention of identity documents or other valuables
                                    Compulsory overtime
                                    Threats of violence, harassment, intimidation
                                    Restricted freedom of movement or changing employer

                                      Excessive costs of transport, accommodation, food
•   Debt-induced forced labour        Manipulation of a debt (through loan or wage
                                      Unjustified wage deductions

•   Forced labour in prisons       Involuntary work performed by prisoners for the benefit
                                   of a private undertaking
     Vulnerability factors

• Social and economic factors :
  poverty, disability, discrimination
  (gender or racial), debt, lack of

• Isolation factors : Migrant workers,
  not speaking the language of the
  place of destination; illegal status
  (residence and/or work); remote

• Psychological factors: fear of
  deportation, pressure from family
  or community members
                                  Who is most vulnerable?

          Sectors at risk                            Groups at risk

•   Agriculture and fisheries            •   Informal economy workers
•   Construction                         •   Indigenous & tribal peoples
•   Forestry & logging
                                         •   Low caste groups and minorities
•   Garments & textiles
                                         •   Migrant workers, especially with
•   Cleaning & security services             irregular status
•   Transport (incl. seafarers)          •   Women, youth and children
•   Domestic workers

          80% of all forced labour occurs in the private economy
                        ILO research in Eastern Europe

                          Way of obtaining a job offer abroad (%)

                               Forced labour victims         Successful migrants




                                    1 .22                                                      10.3
                 1.95                                                                                 1.46   1.82

   In direct  Travel agency           Job              Social           Family           Another       Other
 contact with                      placement        connections                       intermediary
the employer                         agency
                                   ILO Global Estimate

                                  Total Forced Labour     Total Trafficked

Industrialized Economies                        360,000                270,000
Transition Economies                            210,000                200,000
Asia and the Pacific                          9,490,000              1,360,000
Latin America and the Caribbean               1,320,000                250,000
Sub-Saharan Africa                              660,000                130,000
Middle East and North Africa                    260,000                230,000
World                                        12,300,000              2,450,000
       ILO Minimum Estimation of Forced Labour by Form
                                                                     The ILO Global
                                         State exacted

 Economic                                         exploitation and
exploitation                                           mixed
   64%                                                   16%

                                                    Trafficking by form

                                 Economic                                 exploitation,
                                exploitation,                                 68%
                             What can trade unions do?

•   Information dissemination and advocacy

•   Awareness raising: both individual worker and public opinion

•   Legal assistance and helplines

•   Outreach to organize/support workers in vulnerable groups and sectors

•   Social dialogue: address forced labour and trafficking in bipartite and
    tripartite negotiations and agreements - Collective Bargaining Agreements,
    International Framework agreements, Codes of conduct

•   Identification, documentation and public exposure of forced labour cases

•   Audience: trade union members; officials (World Cup 2006)

•   Targeted public awareness campaigns
     – Deceptive recruitment practices, risk of exploitation
          • SBSI, Indonesia
     – Labour rights
          • DEOK, Cyprus
          • UGT, Spain
     – Produce advocacy materials
          • ICTU, Ireland
Outreach and direct support

•   Organise!
     – Informal workers
     – Unprotected workers
     – Migrant workers
         • Recruit foreign staff members
         • Exchanges of staff between unions in
           sending/receiving countries

     – Target high risk sectors (GUFs)
        • Construction
        • Textiles and garments
        • Agriculture - horticulture
        • Ship-breaking
        • Fisheries
        • Domestic workers
  Targeted TU action

• The UK TUC launched a Polish website
  to support the increasing number of
  Polish workers in the UK, in partnership
  with Citizens Advice and Solidarnosc.
• It explains the rights workers can expect,
  from the minimum wage and working
  time to holiday entitlement and sick pay;
  gives information about social issues
  such as housing and health; and
  guidance about living and working in the
                Challenges encountered by trade unions

• Legal barriers
    • (un)documented migrant workers
    • informal sector workers

• Practical barriers
    • Language
    • Distrust of trade unions and climate of fear
    • Temporary/seasonal work
    • Hidden or inaccessible workplaces, and private homes
                      Why should employers be concerned?

• Context of globalization – “race to the bottom”

• Risk management in supply chains

• Commercial impact - marketing/ image

• Rapid spread of information – nowhere to hide!

•   Advocacy for human rights / core labour standards
    – Growing awareness of consumers and buyers
    – Ethical business practices and CSR movement, including investors
    – NGO vigilance
                       Challenges for the private sector

• Hard to identify what is and is not forced labour: “grey” zone

• How far should a company’s liability extend?

• Modern supply chains are very complex

    – Monitoring the first tier is not enough

    – But very difficult to monitor the whole supply chain

    – How to monitor and control what’s happening in the informal
                           “Location” of risks for business

    Risks in employment relations              Risks in business relations

•   Hiring and recruitment practices     •   Sub-contractors

•   Wage payments & calculations         •   Other service providers (e.g.
                                             janitors, security guards, drivers)
•   Hours of work & overtime
                                         •   Recruitment agencies and labour
•   Training conditions                      brokers

•   Disciplinary practices & sanctions

•   Housing arrangements

•   Termination of employment
                  A Business Alliance against Forced

• Awareness-raising

• Policy development (codes of

• 10 Principles for Employers

• Training, capacity-building

• Tools and guidelines
   – Handbook for employers
     (including case studies)
   – Guide on private employment
                                   ILO 10 Principles for business to
                                 combat forced labour and trafficking

•   Have a clear and transparent company policy (enterprises + supply chains);
•   Train staff (auditors, HR, buyers, compliance officers) to identify forced labour in practice and seek
    appropriate remedies;
•   Provide regular information to shareholders and potential investors, attracting them to ethical
    business practices;
•   Promote agreements and codes of conduct by sector and take appropriate remedial measures;
•   Treat migrant workers fairly. Monitor carefully the recruitment agencies, especially across border;
•   Ensure that all workers have written contracts, in language that they can easily understand,
    specifying their rights (wages, overtime, identity documents, …);
•   Encourage dissemination of good practices and the identification of at-risk sectors;
•   Contribute to prevention and rehabilitation programmes for victims (eg vocational training, job
    placements) either directly or through NGO partners
•   Build bridges between governments, workers, law enforcement agencies and labour inspectorates,
    promoting cooperation against forced labour and trafficking;
•   Find innovative means to reward good practice, in conjunction with the media.
         Handbook for employers and business

 Introduction and overview
 Employers’ FAQ
 Guiding principles
 Checklist for assessing
 Guide for taking action
 Practical tips for taking action
 Good practice case studies
For further information, please consult:

 Or email us at forcedlabour@ilo.org


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