Modern slavery
Modern slavery

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Modern slavery

4 Modern slavery and forced labour

Forced labour is an important aspect of modern day slavery. The term ‘forced labour’f describes work or services that a person is forced to do against their will or under the threat of punishment. Forced labour primarily contravenes national labour laws and international labour standards set out by the ILO. However, in some circumstances, it can also be viewed as a human rights violation. It is an inherent part of many forms of modern slavery, such as THB or bonded labour.

In this section you will consider three different examples of forced labour being a part of slavery-like practices. The examples refer to three different situations:

  • bonded labour (also known as debt bondage), which entails the imposition of forced labour on one individual by another person
  • forced labour imposed by businesses, in order to produce or obtain certain products (e.g. cotton and cocoa)
  • Magdalene laundries in Ireland, which illustrate the use of forced labour by the Catholic Church.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371