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Overview of the mandate

In 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Council in resolution 6/14 created the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, to replace the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery established in 1974 in order to better address the issue of contemporary forms of slavery within the United Nations system.

In 2010, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 15/2, which extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years. Furthermore, in 2013 through the adoption of resolution 24/3 the mandate was renewed for three more years. Most recently in 2016, the Council adopted resolution 33/1, which further renews the mandate for three years.

The Special Rapporteur has been mandated through Human Rights Council resolution 24/3 to, inter alia:

  • examine and report on all contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices,  but in particular those defined in the Slavery Convention of 1926, and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956, as well as all other issues covered by the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.
  • respond effectively to reliable information on alleged human rights violations with a view to protecting the human rights of victims of slavery and preventing violations;
  • recommend actions and measures to eliminate slavery practices wherever they occur, including remedies that address the causes and consequences of contemporary forms of slavery;
  • take account of the gender and age dimensions of contemporary forms of slavery.

The mandate on contemporary forms of slavery includes but is not limited to issues such as: traditional slavery, debt bondage, serfdom, forced labour, children in slavery and slavery-like conditions, sexual slavery, forced and early marriages and servile forms of marriage. In carrying out the mandate, the Special Rapporteur utilizes various methods of work such as communications sent to Governments on particular cases based on reliable information received with regard to cases of contemporary forms of slavery; country visits in order to obtain first-hand information on slavery and slavery-like practices from relevant stakeholders; and thematic reports on a specific theme/phenomenon in relation to the mandate.


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Ms. Urmila Bhoola
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: (+41) 22 917 90 06

E-mail: srslavery@ohchr.org or
urgent-action@ohchr.org