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. In 2016, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 33/1, which further renewed the mandate for three years and on 26 September 2019, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 42/10 which extends the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, for another three years.

The Special Rapporteur has been mandated through Human Rights Council resolution 42/10 to, inter alia:

  • Promote the effective application of relevant international norms and standards on slavery;
  • Request, receive and exchange information on contemporary forms of slavery from Governments, treaty bodies, special procedures, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other relevant sources, including on slavery practices and, as appropriate and in line with the current practice, 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 action and measures applicable at the national, regional and international levels to eliminate slavery practices wherever they occur, including remedies that address the causes and consequences of contemporary forms of slavery, such as poverty, discrimination and conflict, and the existence of demand factors and relevant measures to strengthen international cooperation;
  • Focus principally on aspects of contemporary forms of slavery that are not covered by existing mandates of the Human Rights Council;

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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Mr. Tomoya Obokata
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