Note: These are adaptations of official definitions published by the International Labour Organisation and United Nations. The reason they have been altered, adapted or amended in places is to allow them to be simplified for easier access (making them digestible) so that youth in particular can understand them.
Any person – refers to all human beings, adults and children, nationals and non-nationals, including migrants in irregular situations.
Bonded labour or debt bondage – is when a person is forced to work or provide labour services to repay debts or other (financial) obligations. The services required to repay the debt and the duration of work may not be clear. The debt is passed down from generation to generation, creating hereditary enslavement. This system is well- entrenched in South Asia, and can trap entire families in slavery for illegal debts as small as $40.
Child labour – work performed by children that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children, affecting their health and personal development, or that interferes with their compulsory schooling. It is important to note however, that not all child labour is forced labour.
Child soldiers – the use of children in armed conflict is one of the worst forms of child labour, a violation of human rights and a war crime. This Involves the unlawful recruitment or use of children through force, fraud, or coercion as combatants (soldiers) or for exploitative labour by armed forces. Perpetrators can be government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. Some children are made to work as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. Young girls can be forced to marry adult male combatants.
Coercion – Threats or perceived threats of serious harm to or physical constraints against any person; causes a person to believe that failure to perform will result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any persons. Types of coercion:
– threats of violence against an individual or family;
– actions of physical and/or emotional violence;
– withholding of passports, official documentation and/or salary;
– controlling communication and/or movement;
– threat to report to the police and/or to report to Immigration forces.
Contemporary forms of exploitation (modern slavery) – this term is not defined in international law. It generally refers to a wider range of situations of severe exploitation where a person is heavily dependent on another and cannot escape because of mechanisms of control and coercion, violence, deception or abuse of power. Today, this involves a number of highly exploitative practices including forced labour, bonded labour or debt bondage, forced marriage, forced child labour, organ trafficking, sex trafficking, state-imposed forced labour and human trafficking to name a few.
Domestic servitude – a form of trafficking in human beings which is extremely difficult to detect because the work is performed in private residences (in houses for example). Domestic work is by nature a hidden form of employment. In many countries, this sector is poorly regulated and not recognized as real work. Moreover, it takes place out of sight, thereby isolating the workers. As such, domestic workers are generally more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation than other workers. Trafficking for domestic servitude covers a range of situations, all of which share certain features: coercion, intimidation and an obligation to provide work for a private individual, excessively low or no salary, few or no days off, psychological and/or physical violence, limited or restricted freedom of movement, denial of a minimum level of privacy and health care. Living in the household of the employer, the domestic worker may constantly be required to be available to work day and night, often in living conditions that are unacceptable and subject to abuse, humiliation, discriminatory behaviour and punishment.
Forced labour – all work or service that a person has been coerced, controlled or forced to do against their will (not voluntarily/not been consented to); they are under the threat of penalty (physical or psychological harm) if they do not comply. Their freedom of movement may also be restricted.
Forced marriage – refers to situations where persons have been forced to marry without their consent. A marriage can be forced through a range of different mechanisms, including physical, emotional, financial duress, deception by family members, the spouse or others, or the use of force or threats or severe pressure.
Forced Organ Harvesting/Trafficking – when an individual’s organs are removed for the purpose of selling them; others are forced into it through debt bondage or human trafficking.
Hazardous work – work which, by its nature or circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of children.
Human smuggling (migrant smuggling/illegal immigration) – Helping someone to illegally cross country borders, often without identification or papers, for financial or material benefit. Smuggling ends with the arrival of the migrants at their destination.
Human trafficking – involves the ongoing exploitation of the victims in some manner to generate profits for the traffickers (different to human smuggling, migrant smuggling and illegal immigration!). It means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Perpetrator – is someone who commits an illegal, criminal or evil act.
Recruiter – is a person who looks for individuals to fill positions in an industry. In this context, the recruiter may do this through coercion or befriending an individual before passing them on to the trafficker for transportation and subsequent exploitation.
Sexual exploitation – Any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, power imbalance, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
Sex trafficking – recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
State-imposed forced labour – it is prohibited for Member States of the International Labour Organisation to engage in any form of compulsory labour, including compulsory prison labour, in five specific circumstances:
– as a means of political coercion or as a punishment for expressing political views; i.e. as a sanction for participating in strikes;
– as a means of labour discipline;
– as a means of racial, social, national or religious discrimination;
– as a method of mobilizing labour for economic development purposes.
Work or service – refers to any type of work, service and employment, occurring in any activity, industry or sector, including in the informal economy. It also encompasses activities that may be illegal or not considered as “work” in certain countries, such as begging or prostitution. Forced labour can occur in both the public and private sectors.
Worst forms of child labour – all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. This may also include the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities and work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.