The Role of International Labour Organization in the Fight Against Modern Slavery

The Role of International Labour Organization in the Fight Against Modern Slavery

Halise Duygu Özalp (University of Turkish Aeronautical Association, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2008-5.ch003
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Abstract

Since the date it was founded to the present day, International Labour Organization (ILO) has been working on developing policy proposals about the problematic areas emerging in working life. Though unemployment is regarded across the world as the source of major problematic areas of economies, the thought of the need for taking the new ‘invisible' work types into the spotlight also as problematic areas is considered significant. This chapter acknowledges this need and is about the fight against modern slavery; in this context, the chapter takes the assessments and reports of ILO on forced labor. Thus, the purpose is to put forth the necessity and importance of fighting against the modern forms of slave labor, expanding on the efforts of the Organization which can cause significant pressure on the government/state level.
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The Concept Of Modern Slavery

Though it is accepted that there are various difficulties in defining modern slavery, the presence of violence and coercion are seen as the most fundamental determinants of the concept. This phenomenon is defined as the exploitation of people via coercion, fraud or deceit for a certain period of time (Brooks, 2014, p. 243). One of the important points here is the limitation on people’s freedom areas.The literature on the subject states that not all work which includes coercion can be seen as slavery; seizure of people’s ID cards and/or passports and restriction of their right of movement are important for slavery and/or slavery-like work’s definition.

On the other hand, it can be seen that terms like, slavery-like labor, forced labor, and compulsory labor are used to replace the term of modern slavery. In any case, though the term forced labor is used instead of modern slavery1, the fundamental documents for the definition of modern slavery are the Forced Labour Convention No.29 and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention No.105, drafted by ILO.

In the Convention No.29, forced labor is defined as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily. In addition, ILO connects forced labor with voluntariness and punishment, defining it with dependency, presence of coercion/oppression at the time of recruitment and impossibility to leave the employer (International Labour Organization [ILO], 2014a, p. 31).

Modern slavery is defined by terms like forced labor, debt bondage, human trafficking, sex slavery and forced or slave marriage in the Global Slavery Index reports. A similar definition is made by Crane (2012, p. 3), stating that modern slavery still exists in various forms that include traditional slavery, bonded labor, human trafficking and forced labor.

Another important definition of modern slavery comes from Bales (Bales, 2002, p.10). Bales states that unlike slavery of the past, people are not owned directly in modern slavery but instead, are under complete domination; following this, he reports that people are used as disposable tools for the sake of greater profit. Bales (2002, p. 27) also adds emphasis to the enslavement of people via violence and their involuntary constraint for exploitation when explaining the emergence of modern slavery.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Global Slavery Index (GSI): Global Slavery Index is ranking of slavery conditions in worldwide. The index published by the Walk Free Foundation (WFF). The first annual index was published in 2013. Researchers collect data by quantitative methods and work in consultation with the experts from their partners. From 2014, they have conducted surveys with Gallup Inc.

State-Imposed Forced Labor: When states exploit individuals’ bodies for their own gain, it’s named as state-imposed forced labor. According to the ILO researches, of the total number of victims of forced labor, 2.2 million are in this form of forced labor – for example in prisons, or in work imposed by the state military or by rebel armed forces includes child soldiers which is one of the worst forms of child labor.

Modern Slavery: The most fundamental determinants of modern slavery are the presence of violence and coercion. One of the important points here is the limitation on people’s freedom areas. The literature on the subject states that not all work which includes coercion can be seen as slavery; seizure of people’s ID cards and/or passports and restriction of their right of movement are important for slavery and/or slavery-like work’s definition.

International Labour Organization (ILO): Since the date, it was founded to the present day, ILO has been working on developing policy proposals about the problematic areas emerging in working life. One of the ILO’s priorities in existing forms of forced labor includes combatting these types of enslavement.

Economic Exploitation (EE): Economic exploitation refers to forced labor in traditional economic sectors mostly in agriculture into ILO documents. ILO has estimated that there are about 8.1 million people in forced labor in various labor-intensive sectors.

Forced Labor Index (FLI): Forced Labor Index (FLI) is constructed by ILO specialist. It consists of two elements which are the Formal Forced Labor Index (FFLI) and the Real Forced Labor Index (RFLI). The FFLI is developed to evaluate the legal aspect of a country’s compliance in terms of formal respect of the ILO Conventions No. 29 and No. 105. Since the reality and practical application in each country may be different, the RFLI is being developed as a measure of forced labor conventions violations. The FLI is the result of the average of combined data from FFLI and RFLI.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE): Commercial sexual exploitation refers to the sexual harassment/abuse a child – both girls and boys – and/or a woman by an adult, mostly as a result of human trafficking.

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