Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane has called for a co-ordinated approach to combat forced labour.
Speaking after a report from the Institute of Conflict Research highlighted the problem of forced labour in the North, the South Down MLA said;
"All workers are entitled to equal rights and protections and any instances of forced labour must be condemned.
"Often these cases involve vulnerable people who have come here looking for employment and a better way of life only to face threats, intimidation and even physical violence.
"While many of those affected come from other countries, we have also seen cases where people from closer to home have been detained against their will and forced to work,
"It is a form of modern day slavery and must be stamped out.
"I welcome the fact that the report indicates there has been some progress in tackling forced labour in recent years but those efforts must be stepped up.
"All relevant agencies must work together in a co-ordinated approach to protect the most vulnerable in our society from ruthless elements who would coerce them into forced labour."