Modern slavery is receiving unprecedented attention and serious efforts are being made to find integrated solutions to stopping slavery. Ending slavery has become a UN Sustainable Development Goal. The UK government has made slavery a leadership priority and is encouraging other governments to promulgate legislation like the Modern Slavey Act in order to level the playing field. Business is engaged in an unprecedented way due to voluntary initiatives and legislative requirement.
Today no government permits slavery, however strength of the rule of law throughout the world differs such that many people are in slavery today. Someone is a slave if they are forced to work through mental or physical threat; owned or controlled by an ‘employer’, usually by mental or physical abuse or its threat; dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’; or physically constrained or has restrictions placed on freedom of movement. Forms of slavery can include forced labour, bonded labour or debt slavery, human trafficking, descent-based slavery, the worst forms of child labour, forced or early marriage, migrant domestic workers, and slavery in supply chains.
Businesses are most concerned to ascertain whether slavery is present in their business or supply chain and then to work out what to do it they find it. Donors and NGOs work to prevent all these forms of slavery from existing. As modern slavery has moved moved from a niche area to a central development and business concern with increased donor and corporate funding mobilising behind its eradication, there is a significant lack of capacity in both communities regarding best practice in how to address these issues.