Forced Labor

Although slavery may involve forced labor, forced labor in and of itself is not considered a form of slavery unless the notion of “ownership” is involved. However, international standards severely limit the use of forced labor: it is prohibited except when imposed by the state.

In reality there is and has been much abuse of this right by political authorities and others in positions of power. Through coercion, individuals have been forced to work without payment, often in harsh and hazardous conditions. Recent reports of forced-labor practices in countries afflicted by civil conflict indicate that people have been used as human mine detectors and have sometimes been arbitrarily killed by the soldiers for whom they have worked.


  • International Labour Organization Convention 29, 1930 concerning Forced Labor
  • International Labour Organization Convention Number 105 of 1957, concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor
  • UN 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 8.3)

Content by Mini Singh
Research Analyst, FSE

Content in Arabic by Raja El Habti
Research Assistant, FSE