• The prohibition on slavery and servitude are absolute prohibitions in international human rights law, meaning that, in international law, the prohibition must be respected at all times.
     
  • Slavery means effective ownership of a person by someone else, as if the person were a piece of property.
     
  • Servitude is not ownership, despite the fact that a person under servitude may be directed where to live and may be unable to leave.
     
  • Forced or compulsory labour is work exacted from a person under the threat of a penalty which he or she has not voluntarily offered to do.
     
  • ‘Work’ has a broad meaning covering all kinds of work or service, not just physical work.
     
  • Prison labour is exempt from the prohibition on forced labour. However, if the conditions for the exception for lawful detention are not met (for example, the detention was not court-ordered), forced detainee labour may not be permitted.
     
  • Work required to meet conditions of a community correctional order is also exempt.
     
  • Also exempt from the prohibition on forced labour is work or service required because of an emergency threatening the Victorian community or a part of the Victorian community, and work or labour forming part of ‘normal civil obligations’.
     
  • The term ‘normal civil obligations’ encompasses work such as jury and fire service.