The International Labor Organization (ILO)

The International Labor Organization (ILO) says there are eight main forms of forced labor in the world: Discuss in light of legal or conventional framework globally and in Bangladesh

International Labor Organization

Definition: 1

“…all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which they said person has not offered him voluntarily.”

Definition: 2

“Individuals are forced or tricked into going somewhere by someone who will profit from selling them or forcing them to work against their will, most often in sexual trades. Many countries are both “origins” and “destinations” for victim.”

Definition: 3

“A “physical abduction” followed by forced labor.”

Definition: 4

“Workers see all their wages go to paying for transportation, food and shelter because they’ve been “locked into debt” by unscrupulous job recruiters and landowners – and they can’t leave because of force, threats or the remote location of the worksites.”

Definition: 5

“Maids and other domestic servants are sold to their employers or bonded to them by debts.”

Definition: 6

“The contracting out of prison labor or forcing of prisoners to work for profit-making enterprises.”

Definition: 7

“People are required by law to work on public construction projects such as roads and bridges.”

Bangladeshi context:

Definition: 8

“Another form of debt bondage, it often starts with the worker agreeing to provide labor in exchange for a loan, but quickly develops into bondage as the employer adds more and more “debt” to the bargain.”

Forms of forced labor

Forced labor is count as different point of view in different countries. The International Labor Organization (ILO) says there are eight main forms of forced labor in the world today. ILO’s definitions and the countries it cites as examples of where the practices exist:

Those forms are given below:

· Slavery

· Forced labor & compulsory labor

· Serfdom or Farm and rural debt bondage

· Bonded labor

· People trafficking

· Abuse of domestic workers

· Prison labor

· Military labor

Embracement of forced labor

1) The practices and institutions of debt bondage:

The status or condition arising from a pledge by a debtor of his personal services or of those of a person under his control as security for a debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.

2) The practices and institutions of serfdom:

The condition or status of a tenant who is by law, custom or agreement bound to live and labor on land belonging to another person and to render some determinate service to such other person, whether for reward or not, and is not free to change his status.

3) Servile forms of marriage:

A woman, without the right to refuse, is promised or given in marriage on payment of a consideration in money or in kind to her parents, guardian, family or any other person or group; or the husband of a woman, his family, or his clan, has the right to transfer her to another person for value received or otherwise; or a woman on the death of her husband is liable to be inherited by another person.

4) The exploitation of children and adolescents:

Any institution or practice whereby a child or young person under the age of 18 years, is delivered by either or both of his natural parents or by his guardian to another person, whether for reward or not, with a view to the exploitation of the child or young person or of his labor.

Circumstances of the forced labor

To determine exactly which practices constitute slavery it is necessary to consider the circumstances of the enslavement:

· The degree of restriction of the individual’s inherent right to freedom of movement;

· The degree of control of the individual’s personal belongings;

· The existence of informed consent and a full understanding of the nature of the relationship between the parties.

In some cases states that have agreed to the definitions of slavery set forth by the conventions may be endorsing circumstances that enslave individuals within their jurisdiction – thus enforcing the abolitionist conventions becomes difficult and controversial.

Constitutional legislation about forced labor in Bangladesh

Bangladesh ratified the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights in 1998, with reservations placed on Articles 1,2,3,7 and 8. [2] The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 1998 (86 the session) is also relevant. Bangladesh has ratified ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, 1948, ILO Convention 105, on the Abolition of Forced Labour, 1957 and ILO Convention 182, on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999. It has signed but not yet ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families in 1990.

Bangladesh’s commitments to promoting workers’ rights devolve from its … The Fundamental Principles of the State policy provided for in the Constitution … In addition, the fundamental rights guaranteed in Chapter III, specially … Article 34, which prohibits all forms of forced labor and makes it a punishable offence.

The Fundamental Principles of the State policy provided for in the Constitution relating to workers are to be found in:

Article 34

Prohibition of forced labor:

(1) All forms of forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

(2) Nothing in this article shall apply to compulsory labor.

(a) By persons undergoing lawful punishment for a criminal offence; or required by any law for public purpose.

Article 14

Which requires the State to emancipate peasants and workers from all forms of exploitation?

Article 15

which holds the State responsible to ensure the right to work, that is the right to guaranteed employment at a reasonable wage having regard to the quantity and quality of work, and reasonable rest, recreation and leisure;

Article 20(1)

Which recognizes work as a right and requires that, “everyone shall be paid for work on the basis of the principle from each according to his abilities, to each according to his work.”

In addition, the fundamental rights guaranteed in Chapter III, especially relevant to workers’ rights.

Article 38

Which guarantees the right to freedom of association and to form trade unions?

Legislation about forced labor in International framework

The International Labor Organization (ILO) says there are eight main forms of forced labor in the world today. ILO’s definitions and the countries it cites as examples of where the practices exist:

This convention fully defined the forms of slavery U.N. members must commit to preventing in their countries. “Each Member of the International Labor Organization which ratifies this Convention undertakes to suppress and not to make use of any form of forced or compulsory labor:

(a) As a means of political coercion or education or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views or views ideologically opposed to the established political, social or economic system;

(b) As a method of mobilizing and using labour for purposes of economic development;

(c) As a means of labour discipline;

(d) As a punishment for having participated in strikes;

(e) As a means of racial, social, national or religious discrimination.” (Article 1)

International and Regional Instruments for Protection and Promotion

The following international instruments determine standards for the abolition of and protection against slavery, forced labor and slavery-like practices:

· Slavery Convention (1926)

· ILO Convention (No. 29) concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor (1930)

· Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (article 4)

· Convention for the Suppression (1949)

· Protocol amending the Slavery Convention signed at Geneva on 25 September 1926 (1953)

· Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (1956)

· Broadened the 1926 Slavery Convention to include slavery-like practices and forced labor.

· ILO Convention (No. 105) Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor (1957)

· ILO Convention (182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (1989)

· ILO Convention 182 bans the worst forms of child labor including slavery, sale and debt bondage, forced labor, recruitment for armed forces, prostitution, human trafficking or other illicit activities.

· Optional Protocol to the Convention (2000)


· African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981) (article 5)


· European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950) (article 4)


· American Convention on Human Rights (1969) (article 6)

Analyzing and evaluation of forced labor I relation to the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution

Fundamental principles:

(1) The principles of absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah, nationalism, democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice, together with the principles derived from them as set out in this Part, shall constitute the fundamental principles of state policy.

(1A). Absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah shall be the basis of all actions.

(2) The principles set out in this Part shall be fundamental to the governance of Bangladesh, shall be applied by the State in the making of laws, shall be a guide to the interpretation of the Constitution and of the other laws of Bangladesh, and shall form the basis of the work of the State and of its citizens, but shall not be judicially enforceable.

Democracy and human rights:

The Republic shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed, and in which effective participation by the people through their elected representatives in administration at all levels shall be ensured.

Emancipation of peasants and workers:

It shall be a fundamental responsibility of the State to emancipate the toiling masses the peasants and workers and backward sections of the people from all forms and exploitation.

Work as a right and duty:

(1) Work is a right, a duty and a matter of honor for every citizen who is capable of working and everyone shall be paid for his work on the basis of the principle “from each according to his abilities to each according to his work”.

(2) The State shall endeavor to create conditions in which, as a general principle, persons shall not be able to enjoy unearned incomes, and in which human labor in every form, intellectual and physical, shall become a fuller expression of creative endeavor and of the Human personality.

In the constitution of Bangladesh it is a prohibition of all forms of forced labor and provides for punishment accordingly. If we see the article 8, 11, 14, and 20 we can see that how the labor forced labor is against the constitution of the people’s republic of Bangladesh. According to the constitution, fundamental rights are the second most important rights of the citizen of a country. By analyzing and evaluating the constitution, forced labor and fundamental rights we can say that the prohibition of forced labor and punishment for disobeying is the good practice of fundamental rights in a constitution.



2. ILO Convention, (No. 105), Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor, (1957).

3. Kevin Bales, Slavery and forced labor.

4. International Labor Law

5. National Labor Law Profiles, 26 March 1971



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