TEPSA has recently coordinated a study for the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), authored by Dr Silvia Scarpa (Adjunct Professor of Political Science, John Cabot University and Adjunct Professor of International Law, LUISS Guido Carli University, Italy), on “Contemporary forms of slavery”.
This study aims to clarify the concept of contemporary forms of slavery and analyse the legal obligations of States, as well as recent international developments at global and EU levels. It highlights the inconsistent application of the concept by global governance actors and discusses the inclusion of various exploitative practices within this conceptual framework. It also examines the prevalence of contemporary forms of slavery and assesses the policy framework for EU external action. The briefing then recommends possible action by the EU, including: promotion of a more consistent definition and use of the concept of contemporary forms of slavery and further clarifications on the relationship with the human trafficking and forced labour frameworks; a role for the EU as catalyst in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets in the field of all contemporary forms of slavery; support for standardising methods of data collection globally. Finally, the paper invites the EU to assess the possibility of drafting a new treaty on contemporary forms of slavery, as a way to fill some existing loopholes at the international level.