Global Protection Risks

Trafficking in Persons, Forced Labour or Slavery-Like Practices

This protection risk refers to forced labour, slavery, slavery-like practices and trafficking in persons. Forced labour refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work under the menace of any penalty, for example through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities. Trafficking in persons refers to 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. Exploitation includes at a minimum the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs. Note that in the case of children, trafficking involves only recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation and does not have to involve the illicit and abusive means listed before.

What factors must be identified for monitoring? 

While monitoring this protection risk, it is important to report on all types of attacks, whether they are intentional or unintentional, directly or indirectly causing harm to civilian population and objects or perpetrated by State or non-State actors. It is also fundamental to identify whether attacks are indiscriminate: 1) when they do not distinguish between military and civilian population or objects (e.g. bombing a highly populated area); 2) whether the use of methods or means of warfare cannot be directed at a specific military objective; 3) the effects of which cannot be limited, (e.g. the use of cluster munitions in densely populated urban areas, the use of biological weapons and the use of mines in populated urban areas). It is essential as well to identify when attacks are disproportionate, when a party to the conflict carries out an attack on a military target which can be expected to cause loss of civilian life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, which would be excessive (disproportionate) in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated (principle of proportionality). This risk is often the cause or driver of the other 14 protection risks. 


What information & data can illustrate the presence of the risk? 

Generally, in situation of armed conflict there is a wealth of information on incidents, consequences of attacks and targeting. This data and information may be found beyond the monitoring done by the protection sector and requires a thorough analysis of primary and secondary sources. Civilians injured, killed, or incidents with direct impact on civilians or civilian infrastructure can be identified through: protection of civilian mechanisms, cluster-specific monitoring and data, research and analysis centres, human rights monitoring mechanisms and partners, media, protection monitoring, UN mission dedicated mechanisms, and national bodies. Often it may not be possible to have precise numbers or statistics on attacks, due to access and other constraints. It is therefore important to use observation, expert judgement, triangulate available information, and ensure the reporting on the protection risk, independently from available statistics.


You can download the definition here.