Global Accelerator Lab Project: Intensifying Action Against Forced Labor and Child Labor

Project Duration
December 2021
October 2025
Funding and Year

ILAB’s Global Accelerator Lab project will support broader and more effective action under Alliance 8.7, a global partnership to assist United Nations (UN) member States to end child labor, forced labor, human trafficking and modern slavery by 2030. 

The project will strengthen Alliance 8.7 partnerships to increase knowledge sharing among Pathfinder countries at the global level. It will facilitate dialogue on forced labor and child labor among regional institutions in East Asia & the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa and encourage regional and country ownership of initiatives to reduce child and forced labor. In addition, the project will support countries to achieve their commitments to eradicate child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, and modern slavery, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ Target 8.7,  by helping countries replicate promising practices and identify and implement new solutions.

The Problem

More than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery and forced labor, including those trafficked for work and sexual exploitation and those forced to work in jobs under threat of penalty. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, accounting for 71% of the overall victims. 

In addition, 160 million children are victims of child labor; nearly half of them, 79 million, labor in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development. Nearly 7 out of 10 child laborers work in agriculture, and roughly 1 out of 10 work in the industrial sector, including mining. More than half of the world’s child laborers (86.6 million) live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some 26.3 million child laborers are in Central and Southern Asia; 24.3 million are in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia; 10.1 million are in Northern Africa and Western Asia; and 8.2 million are in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The COVID-19 crisis threatens to jeopardize global progress against child labor and forced labor. The ILO estimates that the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs were lost because of the crisis in the second quarter of 2020, and 8.9 million more children will be in child labor by the end of 2022 due to rising poverty from the pandemic.

Our Strategy

ILAB’s Global Accelerator Lab project will address child labor and forced labor at the global, regional, and country levels. The project will deploy innovative solutions to improve due diligence and transparency in supply chains, strengthen workers’ voice, and increase access to social protections.  

At the global level, the project will strengthen partnerships and knowledge sharing among governments, social partners and Alliance 8.7 partners to reduce forced labor and child labor in sectors with a high prevalence of these abuses. The project will also assist Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries or interested candidates to take concrete actions toward establishing sustainable partnerships to reduce child labor and forced labor. The project will share lessons learned from these activities through a global digital platform where countries and stakeholders can openly share their knowledge and effective practices.

At the regional level, the project will assist regional institutions to facilitate dialogue among target countries on child labor and forced labor and support countries in the region to implement and own initiatives to reduce the prevalence of these abuses. The project also will support regional exchanges of good practices on due diligence between businesses and other key stakeholders.

At the country level, the project will work with selected Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries and interested candidates (Ghana, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Somalia) to implement innovative measures to reduce child labor and forced labor. In this work, the project will support the extension of social protection coverage to vulnerable households, and improve worker voice in target countries. The project will also support trade unions to better organize workers in the informal economy, strengthen worker voice, and expand their services, in particular to informal workers.

Read the ILO's story, Tackling child labour in Africa through national capacity building.

Read the ILO's Press Release.


(Period of Performance April - Sept 2023)

  1. AFRICA REGIONAL: The GALAB project provided technical training on child labor data collection and analysis to National Statistical Office (NSOs) staff in 44 African countries. Participants learned fundamental concepts and international standards and definitions related to child labor. Participants also learned how to identify pertinent laws governing child labor within their country such as working age limits, prohibited occupations and industries, and working conditions for children. NSOs also gained skills on ways to integrate legal definitions on child labor into their data collection procedures to ensure accuracy and compliance with child labor statistics reporting. NSOs are now better equipped to engage with Ministries of Labor and other stakeholders responsible for labor related legislation, regulation, oversight, and child labor reporting. As a result of training, the following countries took concrete steps to modify, enhance or develop new tools that will further fill gaps in addressing child labor. These efforts include:
    1. The Ghana Statistical Service, which is in the process of preparing a child labor survey, made necessary updates to the questionnaire and related manuals to align with the latest standards ensuring that child labor indicators will be effectively captured before fieldwork commences.
    2. Egypt incorporated elements learned from the training into their data processing and analysis of a stand-alone child labor survey they are currently conducting.
    3. Somalia reviewed the child labor module and is providing training to staff to cascade learnings.
    4. Tunisia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and other countries have conveyed their readiness to incorporate child labor related topics into their Labor Force Surveys.
    5. Burkina Faso used the training and tools to enhance their child labor report.
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  2. RILAC - COSTA RICA & THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: The project led a face-to-face exchange between the Ministries of Labor of Costa Rica and Dominican Republic on child labor issues. Participants included the Vice Minister of Vulnerable Groups and the Director of Labor Inspection, on behalf of Dominican Republic, and participants from Costa Rica included the Vice Minister of Labor, the Director of Labor Inspection, the Director of Social Security, and technical staff of the Office for the Attention of Child Labor and Protection of Adolescent Workers (OATIA). As a result of this engagement, the project provided technical inputs into a proposal for the Minister of Labor of Dominican Republic to improve the governance and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Direction for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor.  The proposal also included recommendations on strategic actions for the elimination of child labor within the Dominican Republic. As a result of these engagements and presentation of the proposal, the DR Minister requested further support for technical assistance to develop a legislative proposal to create a cash transfer for children in situations of child labor, and to develop a strategy to declare municipalities free of child labor
  3. SOMALIA: With project support, the Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) conducted an awareness raising workshop on the importance of ILO Convention 138 to accelerate the elimination of child labor in Somalia. The workshop was attended by representatives from the trade union, members of Parliament from the Social Service Development and Foreign Affairs Committees and officials from the Federal Government of Somalia. During the workshop, an overview of the coordinated ILO and Somalia Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) child labor assessment and its key recommendations were presented, as well as the international legal framework regarding child labor. The role of social partners and the government in the ratification of ILO Convention 138 was also discussed including obligations required once ratified.
  4. MEXICO: The project, in coordination with the ILOs Global Business Network on Forced Labor (GBNFL) and the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of the United Mexican States (CONCAMIN), hosted a country briefing and technical workshop to train 70 employers in Mexico on forced labor and its connection to unfair recruitment. The country briefing focused on sharing updates in the legal and policy environment in Mexico as well as challenges and opportunities for employers. The country briefing was also an opportunity for the CONCAMIN to announce its membership to the network (ILO GBNFL).
  5. GHANA: GALAB conducted key consultations with the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations (MELR), Child Labor unit to validate the project’s results framework and select target regions and districts identified as having the highest incidence of child labor. To further inform project activities, the project also held consultations with other key government actors, the US Embassy, civil society, District Gender Child Protection Committees, current and former USDOL funded projects, the Ghana Employers Association, Ghana’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), NGOs, and various agricultural and fishing sector councils. These consultations contributed to ensuring project strategies are feasible, buy-in is created at multiple levels, implementation can be conducted with support from strategic partners, and results are fruitful and sustainable.
  6. MALAYSIA: The GALAB project conducted a two-day workshop which laid the groundwork for stakeholder buy-in and fruitful project engagement with the Government of Malaysia (national, regional, and local levels), Malaysia’s Trade Union Congress, the Malaysian Employers Federation, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on addressing child labor and forced labor. The workshop and follow up consultations resulted in a refined project strategy for Malaysia with clear objectives on ways to 1) increase the awareness of communities and households on the risks of child labor and forced labor in Sabah; 2) support worker organizations on how to organize migrant workers into trade unions and build knowledge on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW); and 3) fulfill the governments commitments as an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder country.
    1. In coordination with other ILO country-office projects, GALAB helped draft an implementation agreement with the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) in support of activities to be implemented through MTUC’s Migrants Resource Centers (MRCs) and its sectoral affiliates in the construction sector in Peninsular Malaysia and the plantations sector in Sabah.
    2. Simultaneously, the project prepared for upcoming training of trainers of teachers and community leaders on child labor and ILO’s SCREAM modules that will be conducted at the Community Resource Centers in Sabah. In addition, hosted ongoing consultations with the Malaysian National Security Office in support of the projects efforts in Sabah to 1) raise awareness on child labor; 2) develop and implement a child labor monitoring system; and 3) conduct a study to identify economic opportunities and training needs of communities at most risk of child labor.
  7. NIGERIA: The project conducted several consultations with key stakeholders at the National level (Abuja) and at the implementation State-level (Ondo state) ahead of the CMEP workshop to ensure that a feasible results framework could be presented and discussed. Challenges identified as part of those consultations included gaps in social protection systems and coverage for households engaged in or at high-risk of child labor in Ondo State. In addition, the need for a database and coordination mechanism to harmonize outreach and increase targeted services for households. The project incorporated that feedback into the results framework and activity mapping and obtained buy-in from State stakeholders on proposed strategies during the CMEP workshop who took place end of November 24 in Ondo State.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Contact Information: / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Capacity Building
Forced Labor
Informal Sector
Palm Oil
Supply Chains
Use of Children in Armed Conflict