Mission and Objectives

Who We Are

During the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 195th session held in Paris on 20 October 2014, UNESCO supported the initiative of Mauritius to set up the Indentured Labour Route Project (ILRP).

The Indentured Labour Route Project is steered by an International Scientific Committee including professionals in various fields (history, anthropology, Archaeology, heritage etc.).

In October 2017, the International Scientific Committee (ISC) met for the first time to establish a plan of action listing activities and projects with the view to research and promote indenture.

The activities and projects deal with:

  • Memorials and events
  • Research on indenture
  •  The setting up of an International Database on indenture
  • Activities to create synergies with the UNESCO Slave Routes Project

Concept of the Indentured Labour Route

The aim of the Indentured Labour Route Project is to bring together all countries having experienced the migration of indenture and other forms of contract labour in the 19th and mid-20th centuries.

It strives to contribute to nation building efforts and to a greater understanding among peoples and societies across the indentured diaspora as well as within the countries themselves.

The project also gives indentured labourers and their descendants a voice. The indentured and their descendants have the opportunity to present their version of their experience.

The project would also benefit from experiences, lessons learnt, resources, experts from the UNESCO Slave Route Project.


In line with the recommendation of the World Heritage Committee to gain a greater understanding of the global impact of the indentured labour system, the International Scientific Committee defines the objectives of the Indentured Labour Route Project as follows:

  1. Share current research to establish international research networks and programmes at the basis of the Indentured Labour Route project
  2. Tighten the links among countries where indenture took place and better appreciate the existing historical interrelations between these countries
  3. Better appreciate these links to support the discussion on the Indentured Labour Route Project and substantiate the bases onto which it will rest
  4. Develop and implement projects and activities via national committees for the dissemination and promotion of the history of indenture
  5. Establish new research perspectives and disseminate knowledge and recognition of indenture as an international phenomenon
  6. Promote the history of indentured labour as it is an under-researched topic

Why this project?

Indentured labour is under-researched and hardly known as part of colonial history. The objective is therefore to unite everyone in order to foster research on indenture and disseminate information on indentured labour as an international phenomenon. The objective is also to set up collaborative programmes that will promote the history of indentured labour worldwide and create a synergy with the Slave Route Project.

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