Learn the meaning of common forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour terms.


The ability to hold individuals responsible for their actions. (Source)

Asylum Seeker

A person who seeks safety from persecution or serious harm in a country other than his or her own and awaits a decision on the application for refugee status under relevant international and national instruments. In case of a negative decision, the person must leave the country and may be expelled, as may any non-national in an irregular or unlawful situation, unless permission to stay is provided on humanitarian or other related grounds. (Source)

Child Labour

Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. Child labour refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling. (Source)

Child Marriage

A marriage in which one or both spouses are under 18 years old. (Source)

Child Soldier 

The 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions prohibit the recruitment and participation in hostilities of children under the age of 15. In international armed conflicts, the first Additional Protocol also requires military recruitment of 15- to 18-year-olds to prioritize the oldest. (Source)


The action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. (Source)

Commercial Sex Act

Any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. (Source)

Debt Bondage/Bonded Labour

People enter the status or condition of debt bondage when their labour, or the labour of a third party under their control, is demanded as repayment of a loan or of money given in advance, and the value of their labour is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length of the service is not limited and/or the nature of the service is not defined. (Source)


A forced removal of a person from their home or country, often due to armed conflict or natural disasters. (Source)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Not treating an individual negatively on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, gender, age, language, sexual orientation, religion, political or other opinion, national, social or geographical origin, disability, property, birth or other status as established by human rights standards. (Source)


Any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for one’s benefit. (Source)

Forced Labour

Any work or service a person is forced to do against their will through the use of violence or under other forms of intimidation. (Source)

Forced Marriage

A marriage where one or both people do not consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. (Source)


Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. (Source)


When someone builds an emotional connection with a person to gain their trust for the purposes of abuse, exploitation or trafficking. (Source)

Harm Reduction 

Policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimize negative health, social and legal impacts associated with modern slavery and human trafficking. (Source)

Human Trafficking/Trafficking in Persons

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. (Source)


The inability to take away a person’s human rights. (Source)


The equal status of all human rights. Denial of one right invariably impedes enjoyment of other rights. (Source)

The fact that the fulfilment of one human right often depends, wholly or in part, upon the fulfilment of others. (Source)

Internally Displaced Person

A person or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border. (Source)

Irregular Migration

Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular migration. (Source)

Labour Trafficking

The recruitment, harbouring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labour or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. (Source)


Any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of the person’s legal status; whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; what the causes for the movement are; or what the length of the stay is. (Source)

Modern Slavery

An umbrella term used to refer to a range of exploitative practices including human trafficking, slavery, forced labour, child labour, removal of organs and slavery-like practices. (Source, source)

National Referral Mechanism 

A collaborative effort among governmental authorities, civil society organizations and international organizations to jointly protect the basic rights of victims of human trafficking. (Source)

Official Development Assistance

Monetary assistance provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, with the main objective of promoting the economic development and welfare of developing countries. If ODA is given if the form of a loan it must be granted on concessional terms, meaning at a more favourable rate than the market rate, with a grant element of at least 25 per cent. (Source)

Palermo Protocol

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000, the Protocol—one of the three Palermo Protocols—sets out a definition of human trafficking and commits ratifying states to prevent and fight human trafficking, protect and assist victims, and promote international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases. (Source)

Participatory Decision-Making 

A partnership among practitioners—those who are providing care and assistance—and individuals to ensure that decisions respect the individuals’ wants, needs and preferences, while also providing the education and support they need to make decisions and participate in their own care. (Source)

People Smuggling 

The procurement, for financial or material gain, of illegal entry into a state of which a person is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. (Source)


The action of stopping something from happening or arising. (Source)


The institution and conducting of legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge. (Source)


A legal or other formal measure intended to preserve civil liberties and rights. (Source)

Sex Trafficking

The use of violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. (Source)


Is identified by an element of ownership or control over another’s life, coercion and the restriction of movement and by the fact that someone is not free to leave or to change an employer. (Source)

Social Protections

All public and private initiatives that provide income or consumption transfers to the poor, protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks and enhance the social status and rights of the marginalized with the overall objective of reducing the economic and social vulnerability of poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups. (Source)

Supply Chain

All activities, resources and people involved in the production and distribution of a product or service from supplier to customer. (Source)


A person who has experienced modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour or another form of exploitation. (Source)

Trauma-Informed Care

Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization. (Source)


The quality of being shared by or applicable to all people in the world. (Source)


A person who is, or has been, exploited or abused. (Source)

Worst Forms of Child Labour

All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. (Source)

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