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Slavery and human trafficking international law and the role of the World Bank


  • Perez Solla, Maria Fernanda


This paper reviews the international legal framework applicable to the World Bank and member states on contemporary forms of slavery, in particular, trafficking. The Palermo trafficking protocol is specially analyzed. Moreover, the paper refers to the preventive framework constituted by human rights obligations, particularly those of international labor law. The World Bank's mandate appears to permit preventive action. The articles expressly refer to the goal of improving conditions of labor. On one hand, the Bank's present practice includes work in areas linked to human rights, which reveals tacit agreement by member states. In addition, human rights obligations have been widely accepted by the international community, though implementation is poor. Moreover, poverty causes vulnerability to slavery-like practices, and they perpetuate poverty. A modest set of recommendations and areas in which further research is needed are included. The paper encourages mainstreaming the issues analyzed strategically in the Bank's core operations (concerning processes and results), with country-led and country specific efforts, identifying the issues important for poverty reduction and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Perez Solla, Maria Fernanda, 2009. "Slavery and human trafficking international law and the role of the World Bank," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 49167, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:49167

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