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FLEX: UK commitment to end forced labour welcome, but greater resources are needed to tackle exploitation

January 22, 2016

Responding to news that the UK today becomes the third country to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s Protocol on Forced Labour, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) recognised this important step forward in the fight against labour exploitation.  However, in order to meet such high aims, FLEX called for greater resources to be invested in labour inspection to prevent forced labour in the UK.

The UK Immigration Bill, currently being debated in the Houses of Parliament, proposes a much broader role for UK labour inspection agencies. However, the Government has so far failed to respond to demands for extra resources to match the proposed increases to inspection activity.

Claire Falconer, Legal Director at FLEX commented:

“In ratifying this important treaty, the UK Government has committed to preventing labour exploitation and protecting exploited workers, including by strengthening labour inspection.

She added

We hope that the resources to achieve the excellent aims of this treaty will now be committed to ensure that key UK labour inspection agencies are able to play their full part in the fight against forced labour ”

In making this legally binding commitment, the UK Government joins Norway and Niger.


Notes to Editors

1. Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) works to end trafficking for labour exploitation. To achieve this FLEX promotes responses to trafficking for labour exploitation that are rights-based, victim-centred and founded on prevention rather than cure.

2. Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (“the Protocol on Forced Labour”) was adopted by the ILO on 11 June 2014.  The full text of the Protocol is available here

3. FLEX’s Blueprint for Labour Inspection to Combat Labour Exploitation sets out a framework for labour inspection to combat labour exploitation, and is available here