Staying safe

Modern slavery

A person is considered to be in slavery if they are:

  • forced to work - through mental or physical threat
  • owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property'
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races.

What forms of slavery still exist today?

Encompassing any type of slavery and / or human trafficking, forced labour and / or domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include:  

  • Bonded labour
  • Child slavery
  • Early and forced marriage
  • Forced labour
  • Descent-based slavery


Many forms of slavery involve more than one element or form listed above. For example, trafficking often involves an advance payment for the trip and organising a promised job abroad which is borrowed from the traffickers. Once at the destination, the debt incurred serves as an element of controlling the victims as they are told they cannot leave the job until the debt is paid off.

Useful resources