The latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery from the International Organization for Labor (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Walk Free, show that in the past 5 years, the numbers of people caught in modern slavery has increased by nearly 25%.
In 2016, it had been estimated that 40.3 million people around the world were trapped in modern-day slavery. Tragically, the latest figures suggest that that has risen to 49.6 million people, or 1 in every 150 people in the world.
22 million are in forced marriages
This is an increase of 6.6 million since 2016.
27.6 million are in forced labour
This is an increase of 6.6 million since 2016, and includes:
- 3.9 million in state-imposed forced labour
- 6.3 million in forced commercial sexual exploitation
Why has the number increased?
Armed conflict, climate change, and Covid-19 have led to extreme poverty, unsafe migration, and disruptions to employment and education for millions of people around the world. All of these are risk factors for the different forms of modern slavery, especially as those most affected are those who were already vulnerable, including people in debt, in irregular employment, or without legal protection and rights.
Who is being caught in modern-day slavery and where?
As in 2016, women and children are disproportionately represented among those caught in modern slavery. Women make up nearly 27 million of all those living in modern slavery, and more than 12 million are children.
- 11.8 million of those in forced labour are women and girls
- Over 2/3 of those in forced marriage are female – 14.9 million women and girls
- 3.3 million victims of forced labour are children – over half of these are trapped in commercial sexual exploitation
Another highly vulnerable group are migrant workers – they are more than three times more likely to be in forced labour than non-migrant adult workers.
The latest Global Estimates show no country is immune to modern-day slavery. More than half (52%) of all forced labour and 26% of all forced marriages can be found in upper-middle income or high-income countries.
What can you do?
We at Hope for Justice are profoundly saddened by these latest Global Estimates. We know that behind these statistics are individuals, with unique stories, gifts, hopes and dreams. And we are determined to keep fighting for them because we know we can make a difference.
Last year, we were able to reach nearly 200,000 people – helping rescue and restore over 12,000 victims and potential victims of modern slavery, training nearly 20,000 frontline professionals to spot the signs and respond effectively to modern slavery and human trafficking, and making tens of thousands of families more resilient against exploitation through training and economic empowerment.
With your help, we can reach even more. With your help, we can bring down these Global Estimates.
Step by step, we can bring down this $150 billion criminal industry, and be the generation to end modern slavery.