From rights to duties in protecting people against forced labour: Some observations from Myanmar and the ILC Forced Labour Committee
By Piyamal Pichaiwongse, Deputy Liaison Officer, ILO Yangon, 27 August 2014
Until recently, the main types of forced or compulsory labour encountered in Myanmar were traditional forms of forced labour imposed by the Government and its different organs, left behind in the country as a legacy of colonization. For a person with years of experience in addressing forced labour in this unique Myanmar context, being invited to take part as one of the experts in the Forced Labour Committee at the 2014 International Labour Conference (ILC) was an interesting experience. The task of this Committee was to consider new legal instruments to address modern forms of forced labour, and this focus gave rise to many lively debates among the Committee members. One of the questions debated was: Who has the primary duty to prevent and address forced labour in its modern forms? Or in other words, what are the responsibilities of governments and business in eradicating the problem?
To me personally, ...
By Thetis Mangahas, Deputy Regional Director, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 27 June 2014
The 2014 International Labor Conference (ILC) stands out in my mind primarily with the adoption of the Forced Labor Protocol and its Supplementary Measures Recommendation. The new instruments constitute a major advance in the world’s movement against forced labor and its modern forms, more importantly as it targets the structural factors that make workers vulnerable to forced labor. The overwhelming number of positive votes at the ILC 2014 represents a strong endorsement of ILO’s global mandate on forced labour. Interestingly, the endorsement for the new Protocol and Recommendation supersedes the milestone convention on domestic workers in terms of the number of votes.
Though I went to the Conference to support the Regional Director and also undertake an assignment on the implementation of ILO internal reform measures, I had the happy privilege to witness at least 3 key ...
Coherence or fragmentation? Towards joint action against forced labour, human trafficking and slavery
By Beate Andrees, Head of Special Action Programme to combat Forced Labour, ILO Geneva, 18 April 2014
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hundred thousands of women and men from Asia were recruited to work on plantations, to build railways, roads and ports of the New World and in European colonies. Some were lured into promising jobs abroad, others were simply kidnapped. They signed contracts which kept them in bondage for years, some for the rest of their lives. Most never returned home and many perished during their journey or while working in dangerous and arduous conditions overseas. This abusive system of labour recruitment was called “indentured labour”; today, we call it trafficking in human beings.
Such is the change in international law and moral consciousness. What seemed acceptable 150 years ago is a crime today. With the adoption of the UN Protocol to Suppress, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in 2000, States ...