Skills to combat forced labour

Today, many people still lack opportunities to acquire relevant knowledge and skills that would allow them to earn a decent living and find their place in society. As a result, they can be vulnerable to some of the most severe forms of exploitation that prevail in the labour market, including forced labour. No country is immune to such practices. In 2016, the ILO estimated that on any given day there were likely to be around 25 million men, women and children around the world working in situations that they could not refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, or abuse of power.

Recent international instruments such as the ILO’s Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention No.29, 1930, along with the Forced Labour (Supplementary Measures) Recommendation, 2014 (No.203) have placed a new emphasis on addressing the root causes of forced labour. In particular, they have highlighted the importance of educating and informing vulnerable groups to prevent forced labour and providing long-term economic reintegration support for victims, including through skills development. Education and training plays a key role in tackling some of the individual, structural and community factors that enable forced labour and prevent people from ‘breaking the cycle’ of vulnerability once they become victims.

The ILO has identified important avenues of intervention for skills development actors and stakeholders: raising awareness of at-risk groups, reducing vulnerability through improved access and delivery of training, coordinating with other service providers to ensure sustainable reintegration of identified victims into decent work. From TVET managers and policy-makers to classroom teachers and trainers, all have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to contribute to the eradication of forced labour.