Trafficking and forced labour: Filling in the gaps with the adoption of the supplementary ilo standards, 2014

Lee Swepston

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Introduction On June 11, 2014, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a new Protocol to its Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) (ILO 1930), and a new Recommendation to supplement and develop both Convention No. 29 and the Protocol. These new ILO standards do not affect the definition of trafficking or the vital role of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in leading the fight against it, but they help to develop these notions beyond the previous scope of international law. The ILO’s concern is with forced and compulsory labour, and the 2014 standards were adopted to add an urgently needed human rights dimension to the way that forced labour - whether it results from trafficking or from other forms of exploitation - is dealt with at the national and international levels. These new standards should have a marked effect on discussions on trafficking in human beings, among other things, as they represent an evolution in how the international community needs to treat this growing abomination. The time has come to adopt a more varied and balanced approach to dealing with trafficking, the human rights of victims, and the way in which the forced labour that often results from trafficking is handled. As developed below, it is high time to move past the repressive criminal law-based approach to trafficking as the only response mandated in international law, and add prevention, more humane treatment of victims, compensation and other remedies, and improved follow-up to the tools available to fight trafficking. This chapter explores several related notions. First, it discusses the evolution of the understanding of prohibitions on slavery and on forced labour under the ILO, the League of Nations and the United Nations. It argues that the definitions that have developed are important, because they define how these prohibitions are handled in law and in practice. Second it shows how the supervisory mechanisms of the ILO, and to a lesser degree, those of the United Nations, have helped to develop the understanding of slavery and forced labour. Finally, it examines the ways in which the new ILO Protocol and Recommendation (ILO 2014a; 2014b) have expanded the field of action and the responsibilities of states and of the international community.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRevisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery
    EditorsPrabha Kotiswaran
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Electronic)9781316675809
    ISBN (Print)9781107160545
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1

    Subject classification (UKÄ)

    • Law and Society


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