Earlier this month, Verité was pleased to participate in the first meeting of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO’s) Working Group on Forced Labor Statistics, which aims to inform the discussion on measurement of forced labor. The meeting took place in Rio de Janeiro and was hosted and co-organized by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.
In 2013, the 19th ICLS passed a resolution giving the mandate that the ILO set up a working group to discuss and develop international guidelines to harmonize concepts, elaborate statistical definitions, and standardize lists of criteria and survey tools on forced labor. The most recent gathering followed on a set of technical preparatory meetings first organized by the ILO in 2015 and 2016, in which Verité also participated.
Attendees in Rio included representatives of 18 government departments of statistics and labor, as well as labor unions, employers’ organizations, international organizations, researchers, and civil society practitioners. The group discussed and provided inputs on draft guidelines for measuring forced labor that have been prepared by the ILO based on the outcomes of the preparatory meetings. The final document will be presented for consideration at the 20th International Conference of Labor Statisticians (ICLS), which will take place from October 10 – 19, 2018.
There is an urgent need for more and better data on the characteristics and prevalence of forced labor, which in turn can inform more effective and targeted policies and interventions by government, business and civil society to stem this egregious form of labor abuse. Harmonization of concepts, definitions and descriptors, and concrete guidance for their use will enable more consistent approaches to data collection and the aggregation of data at the global level for comparative analysis. The often hidden and elusive nature of forced labor poses a particular challenge for sampling, and systematic experimentation and guidance is needed. The further elaboration and harmonization of statistical definitions and survey guidelines is an extremely valuable and important discussion, the outcomes of which will continue to inform Verité’s research approach.
For more information, please contact Erin Klett.

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