Legal definitions of human trafficking and modern slavery
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children
- "Trafficking in persons" shall mean 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. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
- The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used;
- The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered "trafficking in persons" even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article;
- "Child" shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.
Article 4 – Scope of application
This Protocol shall apply, except as otherwise stated herein, to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of the offences established in accordance with article 5 of this Protocol, where those offences are transnational in nature and involve an organized criminal group, as well as to the protection of victims of such offences.
This UN Protocol was agreed in 2000. It is designed to prevent, supress and punish traffickers and also has articles for the protection and support of victims of human trafficking. It is important to recognise consent is irrelevant once a person is trafficked and in the case of a child there does not need to be the means set out in the Protocol. Understanding international frameworks, their guidance or binding mandate is critical for those who work in the anti-trafficking arena to understand what is expected and where there are gaps.
Other International Frameworks include:
- The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005)
- The International Labour Organisation Forced Labour Convention (1930, 1957 and 2014)
- EU Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims (2011)
- The 1926 Slavery Convention (League of Nations)
Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour (England & Wales)
1. A person commits an offence if:
a) The person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
b) The person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
2. In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention.
3. In determining whether a person is being held in slavery or servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour, regard may be had to all the circumstances.
4. For example, regard may be had:
a) to any of the person’s personal circumstances (such as the person being a child, the person’s family relationships, and any mental or physical illness) which may make the person more vulnerable than other persons;
b) to any work or services provided by the person, including work or services provided in circumstances which constitute exploitation within section 3(3) to (6).
5. The consent of a person (whether an adult or a child) to any of the acts alleged to constitute holding the person in slavery or servitude, or requiring the person to perform forced or compulsory labour, does not preclude a determination that the person is being held in slavery or servitude, or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
1. A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.
2. It is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).
3. A person may in particular arrange or facilitate V’s travel by recruiting V, transporting or transferring V, harbouring or receiving V, or transferring or exchanging control over V.
4. A person arranges or facilitates V’s travel with a view to V being exploited only if—
a) The person intends to exploit V (in any part of the world) during or after the travel, or
b) The person knows or ought to know that another person is likely to exploit V (in any part of the world) during or after the travel.
5. 'Travel' means:
a) arriving in, or entering, any country,
b) departing from any country,
c) travelling within any country.