How to fight forced labour: A podcast training package for SMEs

Are you a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner or employee?

Then this podcast series is for you.

In three short episodes we introduce you to forced labour, share the latest figures, show you how to spot the signs, and point you in the direction of useful tools and resources. Even better, we introduce you to three SME owners/directors who are taking on forced labour and child labour and making a difference.

These podcasts can fit anywhere in your busy schedule: during your coffee break, while commuting to the office, or traveling to meetings. Available for streaming and downloading, they will help you make a start on your journey to end forced labour.

We hope that after listening you feel inspired and equipped to act. For more information and tools, browse our website, contact your nearest employer or business membership organization, or pop us an email at


SMEs make up 90% of the private sector globally. Despite their reach and influence, they have not been included in the conversation on responsible business conduct, which has mainly involved large enterprises. While efforts to date have paid off, more action is needed if we are to eradicate forced labour by 2030, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the latest estimates, 27.6 million people are in forced labour around the globe. SMEs can shave a large chunk off this shocking figure.

1. What is forced labour and why should SMEs get involved?

Date: 1 November 2022
Length: 30 minutes
Episode 8

In this introductory episode Laura Greene, our network coordinator,  is interviewed by Mariska van der Linden, a consultant working with ILO GBNFL. Laura gives practical examples relevant to SMEs based on her personal experience and the latest evidence. She answers the following questions:

  • What is forced labour?
  • How big is the challenge we face?
  • What are the signs of forced labour a SME can spot?
  • Why could SMEs be game changers when it comes to eradicating forced labour?
  • Is forced labour eradication by 2030 really achievable?

You can listen to our podcast on the following platforms:

Apple Podcasts SoundCloud Spotify


Laura mentions the following data and tools in the podcast:

  • The ILO’s 11 indicators of forced labour, which are the most common signs of a forced labour situation
  • The latest global estimates of forced labour, according to which 27.6 million people are in forced labour, more than the entire population of Australia. We have distilled the most relevant figures for businesses into a two-page factsheet available in English, French and Spanish.
  • The ILO’s General principles and operational guidelines for fair recruitment and definition of recruitment fees and related costs, which help governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations to make fair recruitment a reality, thereby preventing forced labour. The guidelines recognize the principle that workers shall not be charged any fees or related costs for their recruitment.  We will cover fair recruitment in more depth and from a more practical angle in the next two podcast episodes.

2. Fighting forced labour: Inspiration and advice from SMEs for SMEs

Date: 16 November 2022
Length: 45 minutes
Episode 9

In March this year 300 people joined us to hear from three inspiring SMEs who had entered our Global Award for SME Action on Forced Labour. Mariska van der Linden, ILO GBNFL consultant, has taken the highlights from this event and turned them into a podcast.

download or stream on these platforms

Apple Podcasts  SoundCloud  Spotify


Listen to hear from:

  • The ARTE Group, a company making kitchen worktops which successfully set up a Child Labour Free Zone in India
  • Wimrob Bees Ltd., which has set up a network of beekeepers and provides opportunities for decent work and income in rural Uganda
  • FSI Worldwide, a recruitment agency that has set up permanent village-level fair recruitment systems in Nepal, India, and Kenya.

For more from these inspiring SMEs, including top tips, fact files and detailed case studies, see here.

3. The best tools and resources for SMEs fighting forced labour

Date: November/December 2022

This episode is currently being recorded and will include the key tools and resources SMEs need to get started. The tools and resources covered are particularly relevant to the SME context and help to implement fair recruitment, find and contact relevant organizations to partner with, access up to date and relevant information, and more.