Modern Slavery Persists; 40 Million Slaves Around The World

Slavery Persists in 21st Century

A new report revealed that slavery persists, even today. More than 40 million people were estimated to be victims of modern slavery in 2016, about 25 million in forced labour, and 15 million in forced marriage.

Produced by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a UN agency dealing with labour problems, and Walk Free Foundation, an international organization that combats modern slavery, the report discloses the true scale of the modern slavery where most of the victims are women and children.

Of the total, 29 million are women and girls, about 71% of the total. Women represent 99 per cent of victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of people in forced marriage.

Children made up around 37 percent of those forced to marry, as well as 18 percent of forced labor victims and 21 percent of victims of sexual exploitation.

In addition, child labour is prevalent in agriculture, at 70.9 per cent. Almost one in five child labourers, or 17.1 per cent, work in the services sector while 11.9 per cent of child labourers work in industry.

The report defines modern slavery as situations of exploitation that a person is given no way out because of threats, violence, coercion or deception. Modern slavery or other known as contemporary slavery includes forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking.

Much Work Needed To End Modern Slavery

This is the first time the ILO and Walk Free Foundation worked together to produce worldwide slavery figures. Both organization agree that the 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery imply that much work is needed to combat the scourge of modern slavery.

Fiona David, Walk Free Foundation’s executive director of global research, said, “We know that if there are 40 million people in modern slavery, only tens of thousands of victims are being helped, assisted and supported, whether through the criminal justice system or through victim support systems. It’s a massive gap that we have to close.”

Guy Ryder, the ILO director general, said in a statement, “The message the ILO is sending [ … ] is very clear: the world won’t be in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless we dramatically increase our efforts to fight these scourges. These new global estimates can help shape and develop interventions to prevent both forced labor and child labor.

slavery persists: a child in chains.
A picture depicting slavery.

Prevalence of Slavery In Every Region

The Global Estimates of Modern Slavery study found that slavery occurs in every region of the globe. In terms of sheer numbers, the majority of modern slaves live in Asia and the Pacific region, with 6 persons enslaved in a thousand of people. Meanwhile, slavery as a practice is thought to be most prevalent in Africa, with an estimated 7 enslaved persons in a thousand of people.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.