Forced Labour

New Zealand renews commitment toward the elimination of forced labour

New Zealand has ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention becoming the 43rd ILO member State to do so

News | 16 December 2019
On 13 December 2019, the Government of New Zealand deposited with the Director General of the ILO the instrument of ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, thereby becoming the forty-third country worldwide to ratify the Protocol.

Through the ratification of the Protocol, New Zealand marks the ILO’s Centenary by expressing a strong commitment to tackle all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. The ILO estimates that nearly 25 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour. The Forced Labour Protocol requires ratifying States to take appropriate steps to prevent forced labour, to protect victims and ensure their access to justice and compensation.

On depositing the instrument of ratification, Her Excellency, Ambassador Jillian Dempster, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations in Geneva, stated: “Forced labour is arguably one of the oldest and certainly the most shameful of labour practices. Its ongoing existence is both an affront to human rights and dignity and to the core principles and values New Zealand and the International Labour Organisation both stand for. By ratifying the Forced Labour Protocol, New Zealand confirms its strong commitment to eradicating forced labour in all its forms and to the global campaign to eradicate forced labour from the world”.

Receiving the ratification instrument, the Director-General of the ILO, Mr Guy Ryder, welcomed the ratification, stating that: “I am pleased to receive this instrument of ratification, which bears witness to the commitment of New Zealand to combat trafficking in persons and forced labour in all its forms. With the ratification of this instrument, New Zealand is contributing to the ILO “One For All Centenary Ratification Campaign” launched by the International Labour Office in 2019 to celebrate the ILO’s 100th Anniversary. By ratifying the Protocol, New Zealand is moving ahead towards the achievement of decent work and the delivering at the country-level of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG target 8.7”.

At the country level, New Zealand has been engaged in combating trafficking in persons for a long time. The Crimes Act of 1961 criminalizes both cross-border and internal trafficking in persons. The Government has also taken measures to enhancing protection and assistance of victims of trafficking in persons. For instance, victims are entitled to seek legal employment and may be provided with accommodation assistance. Moreover, New Zealand is currently reviewing its Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking of 2009.

The Forced Labour Protocol will enter into force for New Zealand on 13 December 2020.