Pretoria – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour.

The Protocol, supported by a recommendation, was adopted by government, employer and worker delegates attending the 103rd session of the ILO Conference currently taking place in Geneva, on Wednesday.

The new Protocol brings the existing ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labour, adopted in 1930, into the modern era to address practices such as human trafficking.

The accompanying Recommendation provides

technical guidance on its implementation.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said the Protocol and Recommendation mark a major step forward in the fight against forced labour and represents a firm commitment among governments, employer and worker organisations to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery.

“Forced labour violates the human rights and dignity of millions of women and men, girls and boys. It contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and stands in the way of the achievement of decent work for all,” said Ryder.

The conference, which started on 28 May, will end on 12 June 2014.

World Day Against Child Labour

Meanwhile, the World Day Against Child Labour will be observed on 12 June. The day draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it.

South Africa has called for the redoubling of efforts to eliminate child labour practice that has robbed millions of their future in various forms.

Department of Labour’s Chief Director of International Relations, Sipho Ndebele, said social protection enables access to education, healthcare and nutrition and plays a critical role in the fight against child labour

The latest ILO global child labour estimates showed that the number of child labourers has declined by one third since 2 000, from 246 million to 168 million.

According to the ILO, the number of children in hazardous work stands at 85 million, down from 171 million in 2 000. Most of this advance was achieved between 2008 and 2012, when the global number fell by 47 million. –