The Issue

WHAT IS MODERN SLAVERY?

“Modern slavery” is an umbrella term covering various forms of coercion such as forced labour, sexual exploitation, and forced marriage. These forms of exploitation involve a lack of consent, with victims unable to refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception and/or abuse of power.

STATE-IMPOSED FORCED LABOUR

This includes citizens recruited by their state authorities to participate in agriculture or construction work for purposes of economic development, young military conscripts forced to perform work that are not of military nature, and those forced to perform communal services that are not decided upon at the community level.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

This includes forced sexual exploitation of adults, imposed by private agents for commercial purposes, and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children. It encompasses the use, procurement, or offering of children for prostitution or pornography. Most victims of sexual exploitation are women and girls.

INDENTURED CHILD LABOUR

One in four victims of modern slavery are children. Forced labour of children is defined as work performed by a child under coercion applied by a third party (other than his or her parents) either to the child or to the child’s parents, or work performed by a child as a direct consequence of his or her parent or parents being engaged in forced labour. The coercion may take place during the child’s recruitment or once the child is working.

FORCED MARRIAGE

This refers to situations where persons, regardless of their age, have been forced to marry without their consent. A person might be forced to marry through physical, emotional, or financial duress, deception or the use of force or threats. They then endure a situation that involves losing their sexual autonomy, and it often involves providing labour under the guise of “marriage”. Most victims are women and girls.

FORCED LABOUR IN PRIVATE ECONOMIES

16 million people are affected by privately imposed forced labour, with the majority being women. Half of these people are in debt bondage. Privately imposed forced labour can be found in agriculture, domestic work, manufacturing, construction, and several other sectors.

HOW DOES MODERN SLAVERY AFFECT BUSINESSES?

ONLINE SERVICES

As technology develops, so does the threat of modern slavery. Modern slavery has allegedly been facilitated by popular online platforms for ride-sharing, home letting, and social networking, to name just a few examples.

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Source: Mekong Club

MINING

Modern slavery is found in the supply chains for various products that use mined minerals. A key example is cobalt, which is used in the production of lithium batteries that are part of the assembly of consumer goods such as smart phones.

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Source: Verite

MANUFACTURING

The majority of manufacturing operations use multiple tiers of suppliers, and as a result the end user may not fully understand the supply chain of their product.

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Source: Mekong Club

HOSPITALITY

The hospitality sector is impacted by potential use of their premises for forced prostitution, as well as risk when using sub-contracted staff, they also experience modern slavery risk in their supply chains.

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Source: Green Hotelier

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

Modern slavery in the health and beauty industry is known to exist in establishments such as spas, massage parlours and nail salons. Some of these establishments may also act as fronts for brothels, as well as a means through which the proceeds of the illicit activity may be laundered.

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Source: Polaris

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

The food harvesting, packing and processing industries have seen modern slavery in their factories and plants, whereby workers are forced to work long hours in terrible conditions, to pay back debts incurred or for little or no pay.

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Source: Norton Rose Fulbright

FISHING

Often, illegal fishing boats will spend months at a time at sea, and some workers who board do not survive violent conditions onboard. Fish processing factories are also known to have used forced labour in assembly chains.

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Source: ILO

DOMESTIC SERVITUDE

Workers often travel to new cities, or across borders, in order to secure a job as a domestic worker. However, in some cases they are exploited and forced into bonded labour, often as a result of illegal contracts and excessive recruitment fees.

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Source: United Nations

CONSTRUCTION

Modern slavery can be found in large, small and domestic construction projects. The common use of subcontractors in construction can make understanding the true source of labour and treatment difficult for owners of the project.

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Source: CIOB

COMMERCIAL SEX WORK

Victims of trafficking into sex may become involved in selling sexual services on the streets, in bars, massage parlours, residential brothels, and hotels, or via online advertisements and/or escort services.

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Source: Mekong Club

AGRICULTURE

Farming and agriculture is heavily impacted by modern slavery, as workers are used to pick crops, tend to farmland, and process raw materials. Access a detailed list of goods identified as having a high risk of forced and children labour.

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Source: US Department of Labour/ Respect International