How is slavery defined?
Slavery is prohibited under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude: slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
Definitions of modern-day slavery are mainly taken from the 1956 UN supplementary convention, which says: “debt bondage, serfdom, forced marriage and the delivery of a child for the exploitation of that child are all slavery-like practices and require criminalisation and abolishment”. The 1930 Forced Labour Convention defines forced labour as “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”.
As contemporary systems of slavery have evolved, new definitions, including trafficking and distinguishing child slavery from child labour, have developed.
Some of the forms of slavery are:
Bonded labour: people become bonded labourers after falling into debt and being forced to work for free in an attempt to repay it. Many will never pay off their loans, and debt can be passed down through the generations.
Forced labour: where people are forced to work, usually with no payment, through violence or intimidation. Many find themselves trapped, often in a foreign country with no papers, and unable to leave.
Descent-based slavery: where people are born into slavery because their families belong to a class of “slaves” within a society. The status of “slave” passes from mother to child.
Trafficking: the transport or trade of people from one area to another and into conditions of slavery.
Child slavery: children are in slavery as domestic workers, forced labour – in, for example, the cocoa, cotton and fisheries industries – trafficked for labour and sexual exploitation, and used as child soldiers.
Early and forced marriage: women continue to be married without consent, often while still girls, and forced into sexual and domestic servitude.
Source: The Guardian