Mali has become the third African country to ratify the Protocol on Forced Labour Convention, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says.
According to ILO, Mali ratified the convention on Wednesday, thereby reinforcing the global movement for combating forced labour in all its forms, including trafficking in persons.
Through this ratification, ILO said, Mali followed the footsteps of Niger, Norway, the United Kingdom and Mauritania, the first states to make formal commitment to implement the Protocol.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Protocol, adopted in 2014 by a very large majority by the International Labour Conference, complements the Forced Labour Convention of 1930.
According to the ILO, a total of 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world.
It estimated that the exploitation generated some 150 billion dollars a year in illicit profits.
The organisation said victims were exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry, mining and other economic activities.
It added that forced labour could take different forms, from forced sexual exploitation to debt bondage or even trafficking in persons and slavery.
In a reaction to the ratification, Ms Beate Andrees, the Chief of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch at the ILO, said ``with the ratification of the Protocol by Mali, following Niger and Mauritania, Africa is demonstrating its involvement in efforts to eradicate forced labour on the continent.
``This ratification by Mali sends a strong message to other countries in Africa and elsewhere to also take immediate measures to meet their obligations with regard to the Protocol: to prevent forced labour and protect victims.
``The concept of a world without forced labour will only become a reality through international support,” she said.