An employee who is unable or forbidden to leave their place of work or accommodation for reasons unrelated to a public health or other legitimate interest of the state, may be put at grave risk of forced labour.
Forced labour is a form of modern slavery and can be understood as work that is performed involuntarily, under duress or on any other basis in which the employee’s free and informed consent to the employment arrangement is affected.
The term refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through violence or intimidation, or through more subtle means such as manipulation of finances, imposition of debts, retention of identity papers or threats to report the individual to immigration authorities. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors. Migrant workers are also more commonly affected as they often do not speak the local language, may have limited access to support networks and become overly dependent on their employers to meet basic needs.
The International Labour Organization prescribes 11 indicators of forced labour conditions which include: restriction of movement, isolation, abuse of vulnerability, deception, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, retention of identity documents, withholding of wages, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime.