Norway ratifies forced labor convention

Protocol adds provisions on prevention, protection, and access to justice

Marit Fosse
Geneva, Switzerland

On November 18 Norway ratified the Protocol to the Forced Labor Convention, being the second country to do so. The move is highly significant, for the adopted protocol comes into force 12 months after being ratified by two member states. The new framework to fight forced labor and modern slavery will therefore come into force in November 2016.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labor around the world, generating approximately $150 billion a year in illicit profits. 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. ILO research shows that forced labor is not an issue solely in developing economies; profits from forced labor are higher in developed economies and the European Union than they are anywhere else in the world.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, obviously very pleased, stated that “Norway’s ratification will help millions of children, women, and men reclaim their freedom and dignity. It represents a strong call to other member states to renew their commitment to protect forced laborers, wherever they may be.”

Commenting on his country’s role in bringing the protocol into force, Norway’s ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations, Steffen Kongstad, said: “It is important for all countries to recognize the issue of modern slavery and that it must be a top priority on their agendas to eradicate it once and for all.”

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Avatar photo

Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.