Consent to Labour Exploitation


Maayan Niezna


Date added: 

Friday, February 16, 2024


This article argues there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the role of consent to labour exploitation. However, there is significant value in considering the theoretical underpinnings of different legal interventions addressing labour exploitation. The article first explores different theoretical accounts of exploitation in political philosophy: emphasising taking unfair advantage, violation of dignity or coercion. Following the theoretical analysis, the article maps the different legal interventions in labour law, criminal law and public law. It suggests that the starting point of analysing consent to labour exploitation—fairness, dignity, individual coercion, structural coercion and consent—determines the result of the analysis. This section demonstrates the connection between different areas of law and different theoretical approaches to the role of consent to labour exploitation. The different approaches are then applied to examples based on real-world cases. The article concludes that in the context of labour exploitation, consent is a necessary but insufficient condition for the legitimacy and legality of the labour relations. The fairness of the result and protecting workers’ dignity should also be considered.