High-level conference

Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour

We are pleased to invite you to the global launch of a new ILO report entitled “Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour”.

This report estimates the profits generated from forced labour in the world today. These profits reflect the wages effectively stolen from the pockets of workers by the perpetrators of forced labour through their coercive practices. Understanding and addressing these illicit profits is critical to achieve progress in the fight against forced labour.

This high-level event will be co-hosted by MEP Bernd Lange, who is also the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade and ILO Assistant Director-General for Governance, Rights and Dialogue, Manuela Tomei.

28 million people were trapped in forced labour on any given day in 2021. Forced labour is a criminal offence and a serious violation of fundamental human rights. Beyond the individual consequences for the victims, forced labour comes with economic and social costs for the entire society. The ILO report, which is funded by the government of France, will shed light on the link between forced labour and the economic incentive structures driving it.

The event will also provide a unique opportunity to discuss key measures needed to tackle the root causes of forced labour and to take stock of the progress on the negotiations on the EU’s ban on products made with forced labour.

This hybrid event will take place on Tuesday 19 March 2024 from 9.30 until 11.30 CET at the Résidence Palace in Brussels and will bring together high-level speakers. A welcome coffee will be served at 9.00 am. You can also follow the conference on ILO Live (watch and listen only). Interpretation will be provided in English and French.

Secure your spot and register now. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the conference (in-person or via webstream). 

We look forward to welcoming you.

Programme

09.00

Registration and networking coffee for in-person attendees

09.15

Online opening for virtual attendees

09.30

Start of the event - Opening remarks by
  • Bernd Lange, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the INTA Committee
  • Manuela Tomei, Assistant Director-General Governance, Rights and Dialogue, ILO
  • Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment of Belgium

09.50

Keynote speech by Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission

10.00

Presentation of key findings
  • Michaëlle De Cock, Head of Research and Evaluation Unit, ILO
  • Francesca Francavilla, Senior Economist, ILO

10.20

High-level discussion, moderated by Lieve Verboven, Director of the ILO Office for the European Union and the Benelux countries
  • Diane Schmitt, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator
  • Renate Hornung Draus, Vice-President to the ILO, International Organization of Employers (IOE)
  • Esther Lynch, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

10.50

Q&A with the audience moderated by Lieve Verboven - onsite Questions only

11.20

Closing remarks
  • Anousheh Karvar, French Government Delegate to the International Labour Organization
  • Bernd Lange, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the INTA Committee

Biography of speakers


Introductory speaker and closing remarks - Bernd Lange, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the INTA Committee
Bernd Lange (1955, Oldenburg, Germany) is a member of the group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament. He is the Chair of the trade committee. He served as an MEP from 1994 to 2004 and re-joined the Parliament in 2014. He is also the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs, which is the governing body of the European Parliament that coordinates the work of the committees and ensures their smooth cooperation. Bernd Lange is committed to a trade policy that is founded on universal values and puts the interests of all people and sustainability at its heart. In his view trade should be used as a tool to improve peoples’ livelihoods. He is a committed multilateralist.



Introductory speaker - Manuela Tomei, Assistant Director-General Governance, Rights and Dialogue, ILO
Manuela Tomei has had an extensive career in the ILO, which she joined in 1988. The focus of her work has been on labour protection and conditions of work, emerging work arrangements, including platform work, and gender equality and non-discrimination in employment. Ms Tomei led the work that culminated with the adoption of the last two ILO Conventions, namely the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and accompanying recommendations (Nos. 201 and 206, respectively). She was the main architect of the multi-stakeholder Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), linked to target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms Tomei is a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.



Introductory speaker - Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment of Belgium
Pierre-Yves Dermagne is Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy and Labour in the De Croo government since October 1, 2020. He is a member of the Socialist Party (PS). He is also Mayor of the municipality of Rochefort since the municipal elections of 2018. After the regional elections in May 2019, he was reelected Member of Parliament for Wallonia and the French Community, and on September 13, 2019, he becomes Walloon Minister for Housing and Local Authorities within the Di Rupo III Government.
He served as Walloon regional minister in 2017 within the Magnette Government, replacing Paul Furlan as Walloon Minister for Local Authorities.
In the regional elections of 25 May 2014, he was elected Member of Parliament for Wallonia and the French Community for the first time.
Mr Dermagne holds a law degree from the Catholic University of Louvain and is a lawyer.



Keynote speaker - Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission
Valdis Dombrovskis is the Executive Vice President of The European Commission for An Economy that Works for People and has been the European Commissioner for Trade since 2020. Mr Dombrovskis has worked to strengthen the role of social dialogue and sustainability at the European level, enhancing the democratic accountability of European economic governance and EU trade policy, and prioritising Europe’s global leadership on trade while promoting sustainable trade partnerships worldwide. He has also been involved in the Commission implementing Europe’s Industrial and SME Strategies together with the Executive Vice-President for Europe in a Digital Age.



Key findings presenter - Michaëlle De Cock, Head of Research and Evaluation Unit, ILO
Michaëlle De Cock (PhD, University of Paris VI) has been a leading researcher for the ILO on methodologies to survey and estimate forced labour and trafficking of adults and children for the last 15 years and is currently Head of the Research of Evaluation Unit in ILO-Fundamental Principles and Rights at work Branch.
She has been actively involved in key global estimates published by the ILO: the first estimate of the worst forms of child labour in 2002 (which included trafficking and forced labour) and the two global estimates of forced labour in 2005 and 2012, resulting from a capture-recapture of reported cases of forced labour. In 2017 and 2021, she has co-led the production of the global estimates of child labour and modern slavery, including the forced labour component.



Key findings presenter - Francesca Francavilla, Senior Economist, ILO
Francesca Francavilla is a highly experienced economist who has been working in the field for over 20 years. Her areas of expertise include employment, inclusion, gender, and evaluation. Currently, she is a Senior Economist in the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch at the International Labour Organization. At ILO, Francesca focuses mainly on research related to forced labour and child labour. She is responsible for the workstream on the economics of forced labour and is constantly advancing methods to measure forced labour. Francesca has also contributed to the latest Global Estimate of Modern Slavery and developed an innovative method to measure decent work violations in the supply chain. Prior to her current role, she has worked with several international organizations such as UNICEF, UNFPA, EBRD, ADB, WHO, UNDP, UN Women, and OECD. Francesca holds a PhD in Development Economics and an MSc in Economics and has published numerous reports and academic papers.



Panelist - Diane Schmitt, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator
Diane Schmitt took up the position as EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator on 1 July 2021. She has spent most of her career in the European Commission where she has held different positions across various policy areas, in particular related to migration, security and justice. Before her appointment, Diane Schmitt was Adviser for Enhancing External and Internal Policy Aspects of Migration and Security at Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs. From 2014 until 2019, she was Head of Cabinet of the European Commissioner in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. She is from Luxembourg and studied law in France. The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator is responsible for improving coordination and coherence between EU institutions and EU agencies, as well as between EU Member States and international actors, and for contributing to the development of EU policies to address trafficking in human beings.



Panelist – Renate Hornung Draus, Vice-President to the ILO, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)
Renate Hornung-Draus is Managing Director for Economic and International Affairs of the Confederation of German Employers (BDA). This is the top business organisation representing the interests of private employers in the fields of employment, labour and social affairs.
Renate Hornung-Draus holds many honorary functions in international, academic and business organisations, among others as Vice-Chair of the ILO Governing Body, IOE Vice-President for ILO matters and Chair of Business at OECD - BIAC's Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee, Board member of the German-Arab Friendship Association (DAFG), and Advisory Board member of the Birmingham Business School and Trier University Institute for Employment Relations in the EU. Furthermore, she serves among others as CoChair of the B20 Future of Work and Education Task Force, currently chaired by Brazil.



Panelist – Esther Lynch, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
Esther Lynch is the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. Previously, Ms Lynch was Deputy General Secretary at the ETUC from 2019 to 2022, following four years as Confederal Secretary. She led on social dialogue, collective bargaining and wage policy, trade union rights, gender equality. Ms Lynch has extensive trade union experience at Irish, European and international levels, starting with her election as a shop steward in the 1980s. Before coming to the ETUC, she was the Legislation and Social Affairs Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), where she took part in negotiations on Ireland’s National Social Partner Agreements.



Closing remarks – Anousheh Karvar, French Government Delegate to the International Labour Organisation
Anousheh Karvar is currently the French Government representative to the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body and to the G7-G20 for Labour, Employment and Social Protection policies. She chaired for four years (2019-2023) the Global Partnership against Child Labour, Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (Alliance 8.7).
She was appointed by the President of the French Republic Knight of the Légion d’Honneur in July 2021. She was formerly Deputy Director of the Minister of Labour’s private cabinet (2016-2017), and Counsellor to the President of the French Parliament, in charge of social policies (2017-2018). In 2012, she joined the General Inspectorate for Social Affairs, the French Government audit, evaluation and inspection office for social, employment and labour public policies, and was appointed as the Head of Labour and Employment Section of the General Inspectorate (2012-2015). She holds a PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Paris – Denis Diderot & Ecole polytechnique.