ILO experts to highlight critical aspects of human trafficking at Vienna Forum

Leading experts representing the International Labour Organization (ILO), including senior employers and trade unionists, are to focus new attention on critical aspects of human trafficking such as forced labour, and the role of employers and workers in combating trafficking within supply chains, at the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking on 13-15 February.

Press release | 11 February 2008

VIENNA (ILO News) – Leading experts representing the International Labour Organization (ILO), including senior employers and trade unionists, are to focus new attention on critical aspects of human trafficking such as forced labour, and the role of employers and workers in combating trafficking within supply chains, at the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking here on 13-15 February.

The Vienna Forum (Note 1) is a unique gathering organized by UN and intergovernmental agencies to bring together representatives of member states, non-governmental and international organizations, business and the public sector to generate new support for the U N Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). The Forum will also provide a platform for the ILO to renew its call for a global alliance against forced labour.

The ILO estimates (Note 2) that at least 2.4 million people are trafficked for the purpose of forced labour around the world, nearly half, or 43 per cent, specifically for sexual exploitation, 32 per cent for labour exploitation and 25 per cent for a mixture of both. Half the victims of trafficking are under 18.

At the Forum, the ILO will chair the following sessions:

Wednesday, 13 February 2008:

Supply Chain Management – Eliminating the Risks of Forced Labour and Trafficking. 14.30-16.00. The session will focus on the latest private sector activities addressing forced labour and trafficking and discuss how businesses and employers can detect, resolve and prevent forced labour and trafficking problems in their supply chains.

Thursday, 14 February 2008:

Demand for Forced Labour and Sexual Exploitation – How and Why it Fuels Human Trafficking. 11.00-12.30. The session will examine how, in a globalized world, the demand for cheap and socially unprotected labour and sexual services leads to human trafficking and address factors that breed trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The Roles of Employers’ Organisations, Businesses and Trade Unions in Combating Trafficking for Labour Exploitation. 16:00-17:30. The session will bring together representatives of workers, employers and company representatives to discuss combating human trafficking and consider how they can better work together to improve the effectiveness of their respective actions.

“Despite growing awareness and more effective law enforcement over the last years, trafficking remains a low-risk criminal enterprise with high returns”, says Roger Plant, Head of the ILO’s Special action programme to combat forced labour. “The ILO estimates that annual profits generated from trafficking in human beings area as high as US$32 billion, or an average of US$ 13,000 from every single trafficked forced labourer.

Media inquiries and requests for interviews with Mr. Plant and other representatives with the ILO should be directed to Mr. Houtan Homayounpour, phone: +4179/593-1558, or ILO Department of Communication, +4122/799- 7912.

Background

The ILO is a leading agency in international efforts to stop trafficking in human beings. It has published numerous special reports on the issue and is promoting a Global Alliance with partner agencies and organizations to pool their efforts to eliminate forced labour worldwide by 2015. The ILO addresses trafficking from a labour market perspective by seeking to eliminate its root causes such as poverty, lack of employment and inefficient labour migration systems.

The Vienna Forum is organized by UN.GIFT and involves international organizations, including the ILO, UNODC, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As a tripartite organization, the ILO not only works with governments, but also with organizations representing employers and workers in its anti-trafficking activities. It is also a partner to international organisations and initiatives, such as UNDP, IOM and UNICEF in the fight against human trafficking.


Note 1 - For more information see www.ungift.org

Note 2 - For more information see www.ilo.org/forcedlabour