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Role of Organised Criminal Groups with regard to Contemporary Forms of Slavery: Call for Input

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery


16 July 2021

presented to

General Assembly during its 76th session in October 2021.


Issued by Special Procedures



Symbol Number



The present report is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 42/10. By providing examples from all geographical regions, it assesses the role of organized criminal groups in contemporary forms of slavery.


Key questions and types of input sought

  1. Types of criminal groups involved in contemporary forms of slavery
    1. Is there evidence of organised criminal groups1 engaging in contemporary forms of slavery2 in your country?
    2. If so, please provide further information about these groups, including their names, social, cultural or ethnic profiles, and structures (e.g. large hierarchical groups or network-based small groups working individually or in collaboration with others).
    3. Do these criminal groups operate domestically or internationally?
  2. The nature and extent of criminal groups’ involvement in contemporary forms of slavery
    1. What is the nature and extent of the involvement of organised criminal groups in contemporary forms of slavery in your country?
    2. Is there information regarding individuals being exploited by organised criminal groups in criminal activities (e.g. drug production, theft, etc.)?
    3. Is there evidence of individuals being exploited in legitimate businesses run by organised criminal groups, such as agriculture, domestic work, construction and catering?
    4. Is there evidence of corruption (e.g. bribery) and obstruction of justice (e.g. witness & jury intimidation) committed by organised criminal groups? If so, in what way does this affect victims/survivors of contemporary forms of slavery?
    5. Does the involvement of organised criminal groups in contemporary forms of slavery pose additional challenges in the identification of victims? If so, please provide details.
  3. Legislative Frameworks
    1. In addition to legislation relating to contemporary forms of slavery, does your country have any statutory frameworks criminalising the activities of organised criminal groups (e.g. participating, leading/directing, organising or being a member)? If so, please provide details, including statistical information on prosecutions/convictions if available.
    2. Do the legislative frameworks on contemporary forms of slavery stipulate the involvement of organised criminal group as an aggravating factor increasing penalties?
    3. Does your country have legislative frameworks to promote intelligence-led law enforcement (the use of special investigative techniques such as surveillance and interception of communications) to combat contemporary forms of slavery?
    4. Given the human rights implications arising from intelligence-led law enforcement (such as the rights to privacy and a fair trial), do these legislative frameworks provide for sufficient safeguards against abuse (e.g. judicial or other approval and oversight and grievance mechanisms in case of an abuse of process)?
    5. Does your country have legislative frameworks on money laundering and criminal asset recovery (or confiscation of criminal proceeds)?
    6. Does your country also support civil asset recovery without criminal conviction? If so, please provide details including any safeguards in place.
    7. How does your country deal with corruption and obstruction of justice committed by organised criminal groups in relation to contemporary forms of slavery?
    8. What legislative and other mechanisms are in place to protect witnesses in criminal proceedings involving organised criminal groups?
  4. Victims’/survivors’ access to justice and to remedies
    1. What types of assistance (e.g. legal, medical, social and financial) is provided to victims who have been enslaved by organised criminal groups?
    2. Is provision of such assistance linked to a formal victim identification process and/or cooperation in criminal investigations and proceedings?
    3. What mechanisms/channels exist for them to access justice and remedies, and in which ways are they able to participate in criminal proceedings?
    4. Can victims/survivors of slavery receive compensation in your country and if so, compensations to how many victims have been paid? Please provide details in this regard.
    5. Are confiscated criminal proceeds redistributed to enhance protection and assistance to victims and survivors? Please provide details.
    6. Does your country implement the non-punishment principle whereby the victims of contemporary forms of slavery are protected from criminal prosecutions even if they are allegedly involved criminal activities?
  5. Other Questions
    1. What are the key challenges in combating contemporary forms of slavery committed by organised criminal groups in your country?
    2. Does your country make use of international cooperation tools to tackle transnational organized crime as it relates to contemporary forms of slavery (e.g. Mutual Legal Assistance, joint investigations, extradition, etc…)? Please provide details.
    3. Has COVID-19 had an impact on the modus operandi of the organised criminal groups which operate in your country and if so, in what way?
    4. Please provide any additional information which you deem relevant with regard to the subject matter of this questionnaire.

The Special Rapporteur would be grateful for submissions from Member States, civil society organisations, academia, United Nations agencies and other International Organizations, NHRIs and other stakeholders.

In accordance with the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, an organised criminal group means “a structured group of three or more persons, existing for a period of time and acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences established in accordance with this Convention, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit.”

They include, but are not limited to, traditional slavery, forced labour, debt bondage, serfdom, children working in slavery or slavery-like conditions, domestic servitude, sexual slavery, and servile forms of marriage.