From Protocol to Practice: A Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labor, Phase II (Bridge II)

Project Duration
December 2022
June 2025
Funding and Year

The Problem

The ILO estimates that about 28 million people are in forced labor– trafficked, held in debt bondage, or working under slave-like conditions. Most of these forced laborers – 86 percent – are exploited in the private economy by individuals or enterprises. The remaining are in state-imposed forms of forced labor, including forced labor imposed by paramilitary forces. Overall, forced labor increased by 2.7 million people between 2016 and 2021.  The global COVID pandemic has exacerbated the root causes and risks of forced labor. 

Globally, awareness of forced labor has grown considerably since June 2014. That year governments, employers, and workers at the ILO's International Labor Conference overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the ILO Protocol to the 1930 Forced Labor Convention and a Recommendation on Supplementary Measures for addressing forced labor. Since then, 59 countries have ratified the Protocol. 

To be meaningful, ratification must be accompanied by effective implementation measures. In many countries, this requires building local capacity, bringing laws into conformity with international standards, and piloting effective interventions Thus, there is a high demand and need among member states and their labor and employer constituencies for practical guidance and technical support.

Our Strategy

Bridge II will improve global, regional, and country-level capacity to eliminate forced labor through the framework, principles, and guidance of the 2014 ILO Protocol and Recommendation on Forced Labor. The project will build on the accomplishments and lessons learned from the first phase (Bridge I, 2015-2022), and target new sectors, countries, and vulnerable groups.

Bridge II will continue to improve forced labor research methods and build in-country research capacity, and advance policy, law enforcement, legal justice, and victim remedies. The project will establish innovative strategic partnerships and support coordinated efforts at all levels of governance and with workers, employers, and civil society organizations to respond effectively to the challenge of forced labor.

International Labor Organization (ILO)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Forced labor
Capacity Building