The UN The labor agency estimates that around 50 million people worldwide are living in “modern slavery” – forced labor or marriage – at the end of last year, marking a 25% increase from reported figures. before 5 years ago.
The International Labor Organization and its partners point to worrisome trends such as “commercial sexual exploitation” affecting nearly a quarter of forced laborers and the poor, women and Children are most affected.
The ILO, along with the UN’s International Organization for Migration and Freedom Walk – a rights group focused on Modern Slavery – reported that 28 million people were in forced labor and 22 people were in forced marriage by the end of 2021.
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The report released on Monday said such figures mark an increase of 10 million people living in modern slavery since the last report was published in 2017, based on one-year figures. before. According to the report, two-thirds of the increase is related to forced marriages.
Grace Forrest, the founding director of Walk Free, said in an interview with the Associated Press in New York that the increase is comparable to the population of Greece.
The 50 million figure is certainly conservative, she said, as it ranges from child marriage to the worst forms of child labor. So this is a baseline estimate of people living in modern slavery around the world.”
Based on available data, the ILO and its partners have found an increase in child and forced marriages in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Egypt, India, Uganda and Yemen. But the report says wealthier countries are “not immune” to the problem, with nearly a quarter of forced marriages taking place in high- or middle-income countries.
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Crises including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and armed conflict have increased extreme poverty, unsafe migration and gender-based violence in recent years, increasing the risk basis of all modern forms of slavery, it said.
All told, more than two-thirds of all forced marriages are found in the Asia-Pacific region – the world’s most populous region – but the highest number per capita is in Arab countries, where nearly 5 in 1,000 people are in forced marriage.
Forced marriage, the report said, is strongly linked to “longstanding patriarchal attitudes and practices” – while 85% of cases are due to “family pressure”. Regarding forced labor, about one-eighth of those affected are children and half of those are sexually exploited for commercial purposes.
“(Modern slavery) is a man-made problem that involves both historical slavery and persistent structural inequality,” Walk Free’s Forrest said in a statement. as the head of the ILO called for a broader effort to combat it.
Director-General Guy Rider of the UN labor agency, which brings together workers, businesses and governments, called for “a hands-on approach” and said, “all trade unions, Employer groups, civil society and ordinary people have important roles to play. “
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