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Online Discussion_What is forced labour, human trafficking and slavery? Do definitions matter, and why?

— theme: Forced Labour: Private economy, Forced labour: State-imposed, Human trafficking, Prevention, Sectors: Domestic work, Sectors: Fishing and seafood, Sexual exploitation, Victim protection
— country: Asia, Pacific
— type: Discussion Papers

The AP‐Forced Labour Net hosted its first public online discussion forum on “What is forced labour, human trafficking and slavery? Do definitions matter, and why?” from 22 April ‐ 2 May 2014. Among the AP‐Forced Labour Net discussion participants, there was an overall consensus that considerable confusion still exists between the concepts of forced labour, human trafficking and slavery, and this has an impact on the responses both at international and national level. Misunderstandings both among law makers and frontline agencies limit their ability to address the problem. Clear definitions are critical for law enforcement officials in their pursuit to prosecute criminal activity, but conceptual clarity is important also in other intervention areas. Namely, sloppy definitions lead to sloppy research, policy formulation and implementation. At worst, misuse of concepts forced labour, human trafficking and slavery can lead to stigmatization and harm those very persons they are intended to protect. Several discussion participants emphasized the need for a labour approach to prevent and address forced labour, human trafficking and slavery. There was an overall consensus that addressing these criminal practices requires a comprehensive multi‐stakeholder approach, which acknowledges labour exploitation as the underlying problem and seeks to address root causes of forced labour, human trafficking and slavery. The need for extending labour protection to all workers and all sectors of economy was discussed with specific references to sectors including domestic work, sex work and fishing.

Author/Editor
AP-Forced Labour Net
Publishing Year
2014