‘Modern slavery’ encompasses a variety of situations in which one person is forcibly controlled by one or more others for the purpose of exploitation (Cockayne, 2015). ‘Forced or compulsory labour’ is defined by the ILO Forced Labour Convention as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily’. The means of coercion by the exploiter can be overt and observable (e.g. armed guards who prevent workers from leaving) or subtle and not immediately observable (e.g. confiscation of identity papers) (ILO, 2012). In the case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Global Slavery Index (GSI) 2016 reports that the estimated number of people living in modern slavery is 873,100 (rank 9 of 167 countries). This amounts to an estimated proportion in slavery of 1.130 percent (rank 6 of 167 countries). These estimates of prevalence are derived from a 2010 survey, published in JAMA, focused on sexual violence and other human rights violations in the conflict-affected North and South Kivu provinces and in Ituri. Drawing from this representative sample, ratios were adjusted to other parts of the country to reflect lower levels of conflict, in addition to any other necessary adjustments.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.
Haider, H. (2017). Modern slavery in the DRC (K4D Helpdesk Research Report series). Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.