The Bridge Project – Phase II

From Protocol to Practice: A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labor, Phase II (Bridge II)

The Bridge Project’s phase II aims to improve global, regional, and country-level capacity to eliminate forced labour, building on the accomplishments and lessons learned from the first phase.

Bridge II will continue to support ratification and implementation of the 2014 ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, enhance research on forced labour, advance policy, law enforcement, legal justice, and victim remedies.


The ILO estimates that almost 28 million men, women and children are in forced labour – trafficked, held in debt bondage, or working under slavery-like conditions. Most of them – 86% – are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises. Overall, forced labour increased by 2.7 million people between 2016 and 2021.

Globally, awareness of forced labour has grown considerably since June 2014. That year governments, employers, and workers at the ILO's International Labour Conference overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the ILO Protocol to the 1930 Forced Labour Convention and a Recommendation on Supplementary Measures for addressing forced labour. Since then, 60 countries have ratified the Protocol.


The project aims to significantly reduce contemporary forms of forced labour. This will be done through:
  1. Increased awareness on forced labour
  2. Improved and responsive national policies and/ or action plans and/ or legislation on forced labour with strong implementation, monitoring, and enforcement mechanisms
  3. Improved knowledge on forced labour available and used
  4. Workers’ and Employers’ and Business Membership Organizations actively support the fight against forced labour
  5. Strengthened awareness of services and livelihoods programmes for victims of forced labour


The second phase of the Bridge Project will enable the ILO to continue to build on the accomplishments and lessons learnt from the first phase, while also targeting new sectors, countries, and vulnerable groups. Phase II will be implemented at global level, regional level and in selected priority countries.

Countries covered

A regional component will cover selected Pacific Island Countries, with a focus on promoting the ratification of Protocol 29 and Convention 29.

Implementing partners

The project will be implemented through partnerships with national and local governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society organizations (including NGOs) at the local level, national level, as well as the global level. It will liaise with relevant UN agencies in order to prevent duplication and ensure the sustainability of its activities.