Publication Date



[Excerpt] The publication by the ILO of new estimates on forced labour in 2012 created a sense of urgency on the need to address implementation gaps regarding the ILO’s Forced Labour Conventions. In addition, it also prompted calls to consider the adoption of supplementary standards by the 103rd International Labour Conference in June 2014.

The power of normative pressure against those who still use or condone the use of forced labour is essential. National legislation needs to be strengthened to combat forced labour and penalties against those who profit from it need to be strictly enforced. However, a better understanding of the socioeconomic root causes as well as a new assessment of the profits of forced labour are equally important to bringing about long-term change.

The purpose of this report is to do just that. It highlights how forced labour thrives in the incubator of poverty and vulnerability, low levels of education and literacy, migration and other factors. The evidence and results presented in this report illustrate the need for stronger measures of prevention and protection and for enhanced law enforcement as the basic responses to forced labour. At the same time, it also provides new knowledge of the determinants of forced labour that can help us develop and expand policies and programmes to not only stop forced labour where it exists, but prevent it before it occurs.


Suggested Citation
International Labor Office. (2014). Profits and poverty: The economics of forced labour. Geneva: Author