AbstractInternational law prohibits slavery and slavery-like practices under treaties that have been in force for more than a century. Yet, contemporary forms of slavery are one of the prevailing challenges for the international community, with 40.3 million people in modern slavery on any given day in 2016. The State has been largely overlooked as a perpetrator or accomplice in the global movement to eradicate modern slavery. The hand of the State can however be found in contemporary cases of modern slavery. This article identifies five scenarios of State involvement in modern slavery and aims to uncover and bridge the responsibility gap.