Forced labour

ILO launches a new initiative to eradicate forced labour in Mongolia

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United States Department of Labor have commenced "The Bridge Project II" to combat forced labour in Mongolia, aiming to enhance the national capacity by engaging with the government, social partners, and other stakeholders.

News | Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | 26 June 2023
ILO Country Director for China and Mongolia, Chang-Hee Lee © ILO
Ulaanbaatar (ILO News) - On 26 June 2023, the International Labour Organization (ILO) with support from the United States Department of Labor launched “The Bridge Project II - From Protocol to Practice: A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labour - Phase 2”. Mongolia is one of five target countries of this global project, which aims at improving the national capacity to address forced labour through its engagement with the government, social partners, and other stakeholders.

The challenge ahead now is effective enforcement and implementation of these legal provisions. But law enforcement alone cannot eliminate forced labour. That is why the ILO Forced Labour Protocol (P029) requires making the elimination of forced labour the goal of a national policy that would not only sanction perpetrators, but also prevent the use of forced labour, protect victims, and ensure their access to remedies."

ILO Country Director for China and Mongolia, Chang-Hee Lee
Mongolia has committed to eliminating forced labour by ratifying two fundamental ILO Conventions on Forced Labour (Nos 29 and 105) in 2005. In his opening remarks, ILO Country Director for China and Mongolia, Chang-Hee Lee acknowledged Mongolia’s efforts in bringing national laws towards greater conformity with these two Conventions. He said, “The challenge ahead now is effective enforcement and implementation of these legal provisions. But law enforcement alone cannot eliminate forced labour. That is why the ILO Forced Labour Protocol (P029) requires making the elimination of forced labour the goal of a national policy that would not only sanction perpetrators, but also prevent the use of forced labour, protect victims, and ensure their access to remedies.”

Through this partnership, we hope to see improvements in Mongolian legislation about labor inspections that bring them in line with ILO labor inspection conventions. We also hope this program helps Mongolia address issues related to the use of conscripts for economic development activities."

US Ambassador to Mongolia, Richard Buangan 
US Ambassador to Mongolia, Richard Buangan © Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Mongolia
Speaking at the launch, US Ambassador to Mongolia, Richard Buangan emphasized that the Bridge project approach is to leverage strategic partnerships and support coordinated efforts at all levels of governance and workers, employers, civil society organizations around the world to respond effectively to the challenges of forced labour. “Through this partnership, we hope to see improvements in Mongolian legislation about labor inspections that bring them in line with ILO labor inspection conventions. We also hope this program helps Mongolia address issues related to the use of conscripts for economic development activities.” he said.

Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Protection, Zulpkhar Sarkhad welcomed an expansion of this global project to Mongolia. He shared his main expectations from the project to contribute to the improvement of the existing legal environment to tackle forced labour, better enforcement of the relevant laws and regulations, and increased awareness among public and stakeholders.

The Bridge Project launching workshop participants. © Secretariat of Coordination Council for Crime Prevention in Mongolia
Representatives of social partners expressed their support for the proposed interventions of the project. According to President of the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, Erdenebat Sukhbaatar, violations of labour rights that may amount to forced labour are prevalent in the private sector and informal economy including agriculture. Therefore, Vice-President of the Mongolian Employers Federation, Ganbaatar Khuyag said “It is important to improve capacity of both employers and employees in self-assessing if any forced labour elements exist in their workplaces.”

During the panel discussion on Mongolia’s efforts to tackle forced labour, national experts and practitioners from different governmental and non-governmental organizations openly shared their concerns and challenges they face. Based on their experiences, they also made many valuable suggestions for further elaboration of the draft project workplan and its implementation.

For 2023-2024, the Bridge project will support the Government of Mongolia to review its laws and policies in line with the international labour standards on forced labour, to enhance the capacity of relevant stakeholders in law enforcement, prevention and victim assistance and to improve awareness and knowledge on forced labour.

For more information please contact:

Lkhagvademberel Amgalan
National Project Coordinator
lamgalan@ilo.org