Ratifying convention to prevent forced labour, and taking steps to end harassment and violence at work

New Zealand has announced we will be ratifying the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Protocol on Forced Labour, and supporting work by the ILO to end violence and harassment at work, at the organisation’s 100th anniversary conference in Geneva.

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway has just returned from a successful visit to the ILO’s centenary conference.

“Forced labour and modern slavery, in any situation, goes against what we stand for as a country that supports the wellbeing of our people. During my speech to the International Labour Organisation conference’s plenary session, I announced that New Zealand will join 32 other countries in ratifying the Protocol on Forced Labour,” says Iain Lees-Galloway

The ILO protocol is a binding, treaty-level agreement which requires member countries to prevent and eliminate forced labour in their country, including modern slavery and human trafficking. The protocol also requires that victims of these crimes are fairly and rightfully provided with protection, support and access to justice.

“Becoming party to the protocol sends a clear message of the importance that we place on tackling forced labour and other forms of modern slavery in New Zealand and around the world.

The protocol strongly aligns with our existing commitments and legislation, and with initiatives that we currently have underway to address people trafficking, forced labour and migrant exploitation more broadly.

“We also support the ILO in working towards a convention to prevent workplace violence and harassment,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“This Government is committed to taking serious action against any exploitative practices, including those against migrants. Migrants bring skills we need to grow our economy and vibrant cultures that enrich our society,” says Iain Lees-Galloway

By signing the forced labour protocol, the Government has also committed to refreshing the Plan of Action on People Trafficking. The plan will be expanded to include forced labour and slavery, along with updates to reflect changes in legislation and the nature of people trafficking.