New Issue of Anti-Trafficking Review: Forced Labour & THB

New Issue of Anti-Trafficking Review: Forced Labour & THB

September 2015

The new issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review examines how the global community is addressing forced labour and human trafficking. The journal questions whether recent efforts have done enough to stop exploitation at work.

“In 2014, governments across the globe committed to combat forced labour through a new international agreement, the International Labour Organisation Forced Labour Protocol,” says Bandana Pattanaik, GAATW’s International Coordinator, “There has been some progress in national policies and union activities, but in general governments have prioritised stemming migration over protection of workers’ rights.”

The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are almost 21 million people in the world today from whom forced labour is exacted. Authors of the journal analyse responses to this form of exploitation, including unions championing the protection of migrants’ labour rights, and governments enacting supply chain disclosure laws (for example in Brazil and the United States of America).

Many of the journal issue’s authors describe how regressive policies, such as the surprisingly widespread Kafala system of ‘tied’ visas for lower paid workers, are eroding these rights. This year, the United Kingdom affirmed a Kafala-type system for domestic workers. The new UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 retains the regressive visa system, which restricts domestic workers from changing employers or seeing redress when things go wrong.


Other authors look at forced labour and trafficking within the context of migration. Experts Hannah Lewis and Louise Waite, for example, stress that refugee and asylum-seeking situations are putting people in ‘hyper precarious’ situations and more at risk of exploitation. They argue that greater recognition of workers’ rights, particularly migrant workers, would reduce incidences of forced labour and human trafficking.

The issue also features short debate pieces which respond to the question: Should we distinguish between forced labour, trafficking and slavery?

The Anti-Trafficking Review is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal, published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, and promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking. It explores human trafficking in its broader context including gender analyses and intersections with labour and migrant rights. The Review offers an outlet and space for dialogue between academics, practitioners and advocates seeking to communicate new ideas and findings to those working for and with trafficked persons.