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Modern slavery
Modern slavery

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2.2 International human rights instruments

Slavery is expressly prohibited in the key international human rights instruments.

Box 2 Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR):

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Box 3 Article 8 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR):

  1. No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms shall be prohibited.
  2. No one shall be held in servitude.
    1. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Other human rights treaties indirectly address forced or exploitative labour and trafficking by stressing the right to work for fair remuneration.

Box 4 Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR):

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.

Box 5 Article 7 ICESCR:

The State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

  • a.Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
    1. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;
    2. A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;
  • b.Safe and healthy working conditions;
  • c.Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
  • d.Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.