Summary of findings

The Antislavery Legislation Database moves beyond presumptions about the current state of antislavery laws, to interrogate the realities of States’ current legislative frameworks for the prohibition of slavery and related forms of human exploitation. By conducting a global review of national legislation concerning slavery and related exploitation, this project unearths the realities of slavery’s legality and illegality around the world. It explores trends, successes, and failures in the criminalisation of human exploitation, and the alignments between States’ international obligations and domestic action.

The collection of domestic legislation concerning slavery, institutions and practices similar to slavery, servitude, forced labour, and human trafficking shows that national engagement with international law governing human exploitation has been erratic, irregular, and incomplete. Our current findings report not only displaces the notion that slavery is now effectively abolished in all States, but reveals the extent to which States have neglected to do so, highlights trends in the provisions outlawing human exploitation, and underscore the critical need for the global antislavery movement to turn its attention to domestic legislation.

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