Modern slavery has risen significantly in last five years, new report says
The big picture: Overlapping crises — from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change to armed conflicts — have caused "unprecedented disruption to employment and education" and increased extreme poverty, unsafe migration and gender-based violence, leading to a heightened risk of modern slavery, according to the report.
Be smart: The International Labour Organization report defines modern slavery as being "comprised of two principal components — forced labour and forced marriage."
By the numbers: More than 9 million more people are living in modern slavery in 2021 than in 2016, per the report.
- The most recent figures consist of 27.6 million people — including 3.3 million children — enduring forced labor and 22 million people in forced marriage.
- The report found that more than half of all forced labor occurred in upper-middle-income or high-income countries.
- Migrants were three times more likely to be involved in forced labor than adult non-migrant workers. Four out of five people in forced commercial sexual exploitation were women and girls.
- More than two thirds of people forced to marry against their will were women and girls, and the vast majority of forced marriages were arranged by family members.
- 26% of forced marriages occurred in high- or upper-middle-income countries, while roughly 60% of people forced into marriage lived in lower-middle-income countries.
What they're saying: "It is shocking that the situation of modern slavery is not improving. Nothing can justify the persistence of this fundamental abuse of human rights," ILO director-general Guy Ryder said in the press release.
- "We know what needs to be done, and we know it can be done," he added.
- "Governments cannot do this alone. International standards provide a sound basis, and an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed. Trade unions, employers' organizations, civil society and ordinary people all have critical roles to play."