SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge

Digital Information Systems for collaborative work to end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking

The ILO is launching a competition calling for innovative solutions with social impact to accelerate action towards SDG Target 8.7.

News | 16 June 2021

ILO, as the Secretariat of Alliance 8.7 - a global inclusive partnership to achieve SDG Target 8.7 - launched a competition calling for all innovators to participate in the SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge to create Digital Information Systems for collaborative work to end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.

The challenge focuses on Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries as beneficiaries; however, proposals can come from all over the world.

Pathfinder countries are an integral part of the Alliance 8.7. This community of 25 countries have committed to accelerate efforts and to try new approaches from which others can learn to achieve SDG Target 8.7’s urgent deadlines (see below for further details).

Who can apply?

Alliance 8.7 welcomes applications from:
  • Alliance 8.7 partners,
  • individuals,
  • government agencies,
  • NGOs and civil society organizations,
  • public and private enterprises,
  • regional and sectoral bodies,
  • research organizations, cooperatives, education and training institutions, including universities.

The idea to be submitted can be a joint collaborative effort by several stakeholders of those described above: in such cases, a project leader should be identified to coordinate with the ILO as the Secretariat of Alliance 8.7.

Ideas and solutions at any stage of development are welcome. These can be innovations at an early stage or at a more advanced stage.

Solutions can come from any country in the world; they should, however, target pathfinder countries. These can focus on a single country solution or have a regional/subregional approach.

NGOs and civil society organizations, private enterprises, research organizations, cooperatives, education and training institutions including universities participating to the global challenge are eligible and encouraged to include as part of their proposal, an innovative financing mechanism to make their proposal sustainable. An additional incentive described below will be provided for the winning proposal that includes such a mechanism.

Application process

Click here to apply.

Proposals can be submitted in English, French and Spanish. Please choose your preferred language on the drop down menu on the top right of the page.

No fee is required to participate in the SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us to Please write “SDG 8.7 Innovation Challenge” on the subject of the email.


There will be up to 3 winners.
  • Financial support: USD 30,000 to develop and implement the proposed solution in selected countries.
  • Additional incentives:  One winning digital innovation proposal will be chosen to receive additional support from the Research to Action Project to implement their project of up to USD 20,000 if it includes a compelling plan for innovative financing or shows the greatest potential for scaling up to other national contexts, through innovation financing mechanisms.
  • Access to technical support: winning proposals will receive technical support to turn their ideas into ready-to-implement prototypes.
  • Visibility: winning proposals will benefit from global communication efforts including an invitation to a global event at the end of the year where the innovative idea will be presented to a wide range of stakeholders and to the next Global Conference on Child Labour in May 2022.
  • Access to a wide network of experts, innovators, future innovation challenges, and to Regional Innovation Sandbox Events.

Key dates and deadlines

  • Deadline for submission: 15 September 2021 (11:59pm Geneva time)
  • Announcement of the winner: 15 November 2021
  • Implementation and results of the pilot: 2022

Evaluation criteria

  • Demand driven: serves specific needs of pathfinder countries described in these guidelines.
  • Sustainable: adapted to the country’s context and develops the right sets of skills for the countries to own and sustain the initiative. There is a strong likelihood for the benefits (and/ or activities) of the solution to continue beyond Alliance 8.7 support.

    Solutions that include innovative financing mechanisms to sustain the operationalization, implementation and scalability in the long-term of the proposed idea are highly encouraged.
  • Scalable and replicable: Can be adapted to different contexts/challenges. Solutions that can benefit more than one country; take into account pathfinder countries’ different stages in the path towards SDG Target 8.7 and different levels of digital readiness.
  • Flexible design: Considers a modular/progressive implementation or similar approach that gives the flexibility to implement depending on availability of funding or depending on countries’ specific contexts; it can be adapted in the future, for example including new actors or topics.
  • Measurable: Defined, with specific milestones and objectives.
  • Innovative: The proposal focuses on issues of an urgent nature or that have not been explored before. It is substantially different and creative (i.e. through new approaches, tools, or methodologies), leverages the use of new technologies, and/or adds value to existing solutions through digital technologies.
  • Inclusive: Involvement of all stakeholders.

Context and description of the challenge that this initiative aims to address

The ILO-UNICEF 2020 Global Estimates of Child Labour show that more than 90 million children have been successfully withdrawn from child labour and referred to education, vocational training and other protection and prevention services. However, the fight is not over, 160 million children are still trapped in child labour and 40 million people are victims of modern slavery. COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation and there is a real risk of reversing years of progresses in this field. Innovation, skills and digital technologies can galvanize efforts to confront the challenges faced globally in order to meet the SDG Target 8.7.

The fight against child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking includes a wide array of stakeholders including different government institutions, such as Ministries of Labour, Education, Social Development, Statistics Offices, protection and prevention programmes, workers’ and employers’ organizations, civil society organizations, among others. Effective responses to end these human rights violations require a great deal of coordination between all these stakeholders.

What are Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries looking for that could be addressed through digital solutions?
  • Have access to real time data on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking cases even in areas with limited connectivity.
  • Reduce the amount of time between the identification of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking cases and the referral to protection systems or programmes.
  • Promote coordination and information sharing between national and subnational stakeholders.
  • Information systems/frameworks that allow the involvement of multiple actors and provide means to make different information systems complementary and compatible.
  • Cross-border information sharing to tackle human trafficking.
  • In countries that are close to eradicating child labour, digitalised case management with cross reference to relevant stakeholders to allow identification and early prevention of children at risk of exploitation.
  • Some countries have set themselves the challenge to integrate all topics under SDG Target 8.7, including child labour, forced labour and human trafficking under one single framework: this involves an even wider array of stakeholders and systems to coordinate.
  • Relevant and real time data that allows for improving the design and therefore effectiveness of public policy.
  • Information management systems/frameworks that reinforce identification and prevention by triggering alerts for areas at higher risk, thus facilitating decision making and the prioritization of resources.
  • Present evidence on ‘what works or what does not’, in terms of monitoring the impact of national and local government policy intervention on fighting against child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking.
  • Monitor and assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on child labour, forced labour, or human trafficking.
  • Leverage the role of technology and AI in combatting child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking (e.g. monitoring and measurement).

More about Pathfinder countries

An integral part of Alliance 8.7 are Pathfinder Countries. These are countries that commit to going further and faster to achieve the objectives of SDG Target 8.7. They are committed to accelerating efforts and willing to new approaches from which others can learn to support Target 8.7’s urgent deadlines.

The process to become an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country starts by a strong political commitment and by bringing all these actors together to agree on specific priorities and a roadmap to accelerate action towards SDG Target 8.7. The purpose of this process is to create synergies, avoid overlap between the efforts of each of these stakeholders, work together towards a common goal, and therefore make better use of resources.

These countries have set ambitious goals that have been affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The root causes of child labour and forced labour – including poverty, limited access to decent work opportunities for those of legal working age, social marginalization, discrimination, the lack of universal quality education, the prevalence of the informal economy and weak social dialogue – are likely to be exacerbated. In this context, the need for reliable and real time data and coordination has gained even more importance.

A survey was conducted among pathfinder countries to identify common challenges in the implementation of their roadmaps. One of the common concerns identified relates to the need for greater coordination between stakeholders and for effective information systems to prevent and tackle child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. Enhanced information and coordination mechanisms would allow cross-referencing between relevant institutions for prevention and protection programmes to provide the necessary information for decision-making at all levels.

Countries that have sent a written expression of interest to become Pathfinder Countries include:
  • Albania
  • Cameroon
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mauritania
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Peru
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Viet Nam