The problem of contemporary slavery: An international human rights challenge for social work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Despite conventional wisdom that slavery has been eradicated, this analysis of the human trafficking literature reveals that this form of violent coercion and economic exploitation persists. However, there is little agreement upon definitions, estimates and responses to this problem. Differing academic and policy definitions and estimates of slavery are reviewed, in which most emphasis is placed upon sexual trafficking, while other forms such as chattel slavery, debt bondage and contract slavery are often under-recognized. There are a range of policy options for ameliorating this problem, which include social services, community-based interventions, harm reduction strategies and legal and economic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011



  • forced labor
  • human rights
  • human trafficking
  • poverty
  • slavery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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