More than 50 million people live as slaves for work or forced marriages

09/12/2022 at 14:31


In 2016, the global estimate was just ten million, showing how widespread exploitation has become.

More than 50 million people are victims of what UN considered ‘modern slavery‘, that is, with invisible chains associated with forced labor or unwanted marriages that do not only extend to poor countries.

The report on modern slavery, prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), estimates that 28 million people live as slaves to work and some 22 million undergo marriages strengths.

In 2016, the overall estimate was only ten million, which shows how widespread exploitation has become. Experts have insisted that women and children are particularly vulnerable.

Modern slavery, however, does not include macroeconomic data, since more than half of forced labor and a quarter of marriages take place in at least middle-income countries.

In the case of forced labour, the vast majority, 86%, corresponds to the private sector, while sexual exploitation alone already accounts for 23% of the total. Among the victims, there are 3.3 million minors, mainly girls.

Women are also the main victims of forced marriagesa scourge that the UN itself admits is damning in terms of data since the 22 million collected in the latest report does not include all cases of child marriage.

More than 85% of cases stem from family pressure and nearly two-thirds are confined to the Asia-Pacific region. In Arab countries, the prevalence of forced marriages is around 4.8 per thousand.

IOM Director General António Vitorino appealed for the “urgency” to ensure, for example, that migration is “safe, orderly and regular”. Unsurprisingly, migrants are three times more likely to suffer from this modern slavery variable.

For ILO Director Guy Rider, it is “shocking” that the situation is not improving, despite theoretical global awareness. For this reason, he called for “effective national policies and regulations”, but also stressed that “governments cannot do it alone” and require the collaboration of all parties, including trade unions and employers.


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