IOE-ILO GBNFL Digital Conference: SMEs break new ground to fight forced labour

At our digital conference SME Action on Forced Labour, three small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shared their stories on how they are fighting forced labour and child labour. Nearly 300 people joined us and left feeling inspired and motivated to take action.

Scroll down to read the advice from SMEs for SMEs, fact files on each business, and to watch the recording.

We’ve brought together the practical tips and advice from the SMEs who presented at the event in one short document, and included a case study for each SME.

Read it here


The ARTE Group is a Dutch company making kitchen worktops (e.g. natural stone). Arte successfully set up a Child Labour Free Zone in India.

  • 60 children back to school.
  • Day care for immigrant children.
  • Improved education quality, including introduction of English lessons.
  • Expansion from 8 to 12 villages following initial success on request of the Indian government.

TOP TIPS FOR OTHER SMEs: Visit your suppliers. Really understand how your business impacts, and can impact, its sourcing communities. Work with NGOs to obtain the expertise you need to make a difference.

FACT FILE: Wimrob Bees

Wimrob Bees Ltd. provides opportunities for decent work and income in rural Uganda, thereby reducing incentives for Ugandans to migrate abroad and risk forced labour.

  • Set up a network of 15,000 small holder farmers, mostly women and young people.
  • All are trained and supported by Wimrob Bees to become professional beekeepers.
  • Wimrob Bees buys the network’s honey and beeswax products and sells these to local, national, and international buyers.
  • Beekeepers make an average yearly income of USD 1,600, nearly double GDP per capita (USD 822)
  • Raises awareness of forced labour and child labour, and what to do about it, among other Ugandan SMEs.
  • Plans to expand its network to 20,000 beekeepers by 2026.

TOP TIPS FOR OTHER SMEs: Inspire other SMEs through discussion, worksite visits, and sharing your success story. Join an employer’s organization to access support and training, and to build your network.

FACT FILE: FSI Worldwide

FSI Worldwide was originally set up in Nepal to fairly recruit former Gurkha soldiers.

  • Successfully created a market for fair recruitment and then sold into it.
  • Fairly recruited and placed around 10,000 workers.
  • Set up a permanent village-level fair recruitment system in locations including Nepal, India and Kenya.
  • Now advises governments and other businesses.

TOP TIPS FOR OTHER SMEs: Don’t take short cuts. Invest in good people, policies, and procedures. Remember to insist, invest, and inspect.

Would you like to know even more?

Watch the recording here