Forced Labour

All about Forced Labour Law, Forcing Labourers to Work Illegally in Zambia, Decent Work and Labour Laws and more on Mywage Zambia



What is forced labour?

According to a definition adopted from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), forced labour is 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 themselves voluntarily.

What does the law say about forced labour?

At present, Zambia has no definite law that defines forced labour. Therefore, matters related to forced labour are covered under two ILO conventions namely; Forced Labour Convention, 1930 and Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957. These are the two guiding principles on which Zambia relies on, having ratified them.

Zambia has also adopted a continental declaration calling on all African states to adopt national action plans as a matter of urgency to eradicate all forms of forced labour by 2015. 

The Republican Constitution also protects all Zambians from any form of “forced or slavery” treatment.

Are there exceptions? 

Yes, there are limited exceptions where forced labour can be administered. Forced labour maybe administered by a way of a court sentence. This is when a person has been found convicted of a crime and sentence to a specified jail term with “labour”. 

Also parents may on very limited occasions impose forced labour on children as a disciplinary measure.  

What are the common pointers of forced labour?

  • Prolonged working periods with threats of pay-cuts or dismissal
  • Denied access to medical facilities when ill (usually not allowed to seek medical attention during working hours)
  • Confiscation of personal identity (National ID, passport, work permit or visa)
  • Having one’s earnings revoked by the employer after work has been done
  • Restricted movement, association and interaction especially in a foreign country
  • Getting your salary cut or billed for any minor accident, such as breaking a glass in the case of a maid or nanny
  • Not allowed to seek legal or expert guidance 
  • Repeated physical, verbal or sexual abuse   

Where do I report forced labour?

Every case of forced labour is peculiar to itself. Therefore, each case has its own procedures to follow, depending on the circumstance. The basic one would do is to seek expert advice by reporting the matter to the any of the nearest points:

  • Ministry of Labour and Social Security offices nationwide 
  • Police station
  • Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates (for those in foreign countries)
  • International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO) 
  • United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for child labourers 
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for migrants and refugees

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