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According to the UN's International Labour Organisation, the figure is three times higher than previously thought

Forced labour generates illegal profits of $150bn a year worldwide. Millions of people face lucrative scale of exploitation and they are trapped in modern-day slavery, coerced employment and trafficking.

The study made by UN's International Labour Organization revealed that almost two-third of the total profits are generated by commercial sexual exploitation, and the rest  come from forced economic labour, such as domestic work, construction and mining.

Based on ILO's estimation, more than half of the 21 million people experiencing forced labour, trafficking and modern-day slavery are women and girls mainly in commercial sexual exploitation. Whilst, men are mostly exploited in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, utilities and mining- sectors that add up to $43bn of the annual illegal profits. Private households that either do not pay or underpay domestic workers are responsible for the remaining $8bn.

The Asia-Pacific region has the highest annual profits from forced labour (($51.8bn), followed closely by the developed economies and the EU($46.9bn), then central and south-eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States($18bn);, Africa($13.1bn);, Latin America and the Caribbean($12bn) and the Middle East($8.5bn).

The main factors which push people into forced labour are sudden income shocks, while illiteracy, a lack of education, gender and migration are contributory factors in the process.

According to ILO director-general, Guy Ryder, the study helps reach  better comprehension of forced labour and slavery to a new level and urged leaders to redouble their efforts to eliminate this fundamentally evil, but extremely profitable practice.

'If we want to make a significant change in the lives of the 21 million men, women and children in forced labour, we need to take concrete and immediate action,' he said. 'That means working with governments to strengthen law, policy and enforcement, with employers to strengthen their due diligence against forced labour, including in their supply chains, and with trade unions to represent and empower those at risk.'

Beate Andrees, the head of the ILO'S special action programme to combat forced labour stressed the significance of reducing the vulnerability of unprivileged people most at risk. 'While progress is being made in reducing state-imposed forced labour, we must now focus on the socioeconomic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour in the private sector,' she said.

Furthemore, Andrees delineated crucial measures, including social security guarantees to protect poor households from abusive lending or indenture, improving educational level and investing in training to increase job opportunities for vulnerable workers, protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers.

Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, highlighted the fact that the report revealed not only the persistence of slavery in the world, but also the modern economy's  dependence on it. 'We have to realise that the problem of slavery is one that touches us all, as in a globalised economy we all buy products likely to be tainted by forced labour,' he said.

This is the reason why the urgent actions should be taken immediately. A good exemplary can be the introduction of the UK government's modern slavery bill extraterritorial legislation to force business executives responsible for slavery in their supply chains, and by supporting a binding protocol on the International Labour Organization convention on forced labour to strengthen international standards against it.

The process is especially shocking, as human trafficking is the fastest-growing form of international crime and the third-largest criminal industry in the world.


The gLAWcal team

The 20th of May 2014

(Source: The Guardian)