Latest Global estimates of modern slaverypublished by the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the international human rights group Walk Free, revealed that last year, about 50 million people were living in modern slavery: 28 million were in forced labor and 22 million were in forced marriage.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “It is shocking that modern slavery has not improved.
“Nothing can justify the persistence of this fundamental human rights abuse.”
Compared to 2016 global estimates, an additional 10 million people will be in modern slavery by 2021, with women and children disproportionately vulnerable.
Modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world, and cuts across ethnic lines, cultures, and religions.
More than half of forced labor and a quarter of forced marriages can be found in upper-middle or high-income countries.
A ‘hands-on approach’ is needed
Eighty-six per cent of forced labor cases are found in the private sector, with 23 per cent of forced commercial sexual exploitation – nearly four out of five victims are women.
State-imposed forced labor accounts for 14%, of which nearly one in eight, or 3.3 million, are children.
More than half are sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.
“We know what needs to be done and we know it can be done,” said the top ILO official. “Effective national policies and regulations are fundamental“.
But governments cannot do it alone, he continued, explaining that international standards provide a “reasonable basis” and a “joint approach” is needed.
“Trade unions, employers’ organizations, civil society and ordinary people all have an important role to play.”
Last year, an estimated 22 million people were living in forced marriage, up 6.6 million from the 2016 global estimate.
The true rates of forced marriage, especially involving children 16 years of age and younger, may be much larger than estimated because they are based on a narrow definition that excludes some cases of child marriage. They are considered coerced because minors cannot legally consent to marriage.
Forced marriages have very specific contexts because they involve longstanding patriarchal attitudes and practices. The report found that more than 85% was due to family pressure.
Based on the area’s population size, 65% of forced marriages are found in Asia and the Pacific. The Arab countries have the highest prevalence, with 4.8 out of every 1,000 people in the region being forced into a marriage.
Meanwhile, migrant workers are three times more likely to suffer forced labor than other adult workers.
Although labor migration has mainly positive effects on individuals, households, communities and society, migration is infrequent or poorly managed, or unfair and unfair recruitment practices ethics makes migrants particularly vulnerable.
The report recommends swift actions to end modern slavery.
These include law enforcement and improvement and labor inspection; ending forced labor imposed by the State; stronger measures to combat forced labor and human trafficking; expand social protection and strengthen legal protection, including raising the legal marriage age to 18.
Other measures related to addressing the increased risk of trafficking and forced labor for migrant workers, promoting fair and ethical recruitment, and greater support for women, girls and vulnerable individuals.
Reversing the ‘shocking trend’
IOM Director-General António Vitorino said: “This report highlights the urgency of ensuring that all migration is safe, orderly and regular.
“Reducing migrants’ vulnerability to forced labor and trafficking depends primarily on national policies and legal frameworks that respect, protect and realize human and human rights. fundamental freedoms of all migrants – and potential migrants – at all stages of the process migration, regardless of their migration status”.
He asserts that all of society must work together to “reverse these shocking trends”, including by implementing Global Compact on Migration.