DEFINING TRAFFICKING

Despite the different legal definitions of human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery that exist in the relevant international instruments, people affected by these three violations are not always distinct.

THREE DEFINITIONS:

FORCED LABOUR

According to Article 2 of the Forced Labour Convention, forced labour is “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. Almost 25 million people around the world are trapped in forced labour

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

According to the Palermo protocol, the legal definition of human trafficking is a crime that includes three elements:

  1. The act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person;
  2. By means of e.g. coercion, deception or abuse of vulnerability;
  3. For the purpose of exploitation, such as sexual exploitation, slavery and forced labour, among others.

MODERN SLAVERY

According to Article 2 of the Slavery Convention, 1926, modern slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised. It refers to the situation of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

Due to problems of environmental degradation, migration and shifting demographics, modern slavery is expected to grow (Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, 9 September 2019)

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40%

Of 136 countries
recorded ten or fewer convictions

Justice is rare. Of 136 countries surveyed in 2012-14, 40 per cent recorded ten or fewer convictions (UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016).

33%

One victim out of 3
is a child (UNICEF 2019)

Across regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, children account for an even higher proportion of identified trafficking victims, at 64 and 62 per cent respectively.

The number of children might be even higher: the reality is that children are infrequently identified as victims of trafficking.

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