Forced labour is any work or service which people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment. Almost all slavery practices contain some element of forced labour.
It affects millions of men, women and children around the world. It is most often found in industries with a lot of workers and little regulation. These include:
Agriculture and fishing
Construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns
Manufacturing, processing and packaging
Prostitution and sexual exploitation
Market trading and illegal activities
Forced labour is the most common element of modern slavery. It is the most extreme form of people exploitation.
Although many people associate forced labour and slavery with physical violence, in fact the ways used to force people to work are more insidious and ingrained in some cultures.
Forced labour often affects the most vulnerable and excluded groups, for example commonly discriminated Dalits in India. Women and girls are more at risk than boys and men, and children make up a quarter of people in forced labour.
Migrant workers are targeted because they often don’t speak the language, have few friends, have limited rights and depend on their employers.
Forced labour happens in the context of poverty, lack of sustainable jobs and education, as well as a weak rule of law, corruption and an economy dependent on cheap labour