50 Million Victims Of Modern Day Slavery In 2021, Says UN Report


The number of people becoming victims of modern-day slavery is on the rise around the world, a new report has said.

The Global Estimates of Modern Slavery published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and international human rights group Walk Free showed that some 50 million people lived in modern slavery on any given day in 2021.

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10 million increase form 2016

This, according to the report is nearly 10 million more than figures in 2016, when the previous study was conducted.

The report noted that modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world, and cuts across ethnic, cultural and religious lines.

Out of the 50 million people who are living in modern slavery, 27.6 million are victims of forced labour, while 22 million are forced marriages.

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At 86 per cent, most cases of forced labour are found in the private sector, the report said.

Forced labour in sectors other than commercial sexual exploitation accounts for 63 per cent of all forced labour, while forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 23 per cent of all forced labour, it said.

Women, children most exploited 

Almost four out of five of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation are women or girls, it said.

State-imposed forced labour accounts for 14 per cent of people in forced labour.

Almost one in eight of all those in forced labour are children (3.3 million).

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More than half of these are in commercial sexual exploitation.

Migrant workers are more than three times more likely to be in forced labour than non-migrant adult workers.

22 million living in forced marriages

The study noted that the number of forced marriages went up by 6.6 million from 2016.

“The true incidence of forced marriage, particularly involving children aged 16 and younger, is likely far greater than current estimates can capture; these are based on a narrow definition and do not include all child marriages. Child marriages are considered to be forced because a child cannot legally give consent to marry,” it said.

It added that forced marriage is closely linked to long-established patriarchal attitudes and practices and is highly context-specific.

child marriage
UNICEF/ Representational Image

The overwhelming majority of forced marriages (more than 85 per cent) was driven by family pressure.

Although two-thirds (65 per cent) of forced marriages are found in Asia and the Pacific, when regional population size is considered, the prevalence is highest in the Arab States, with 4.8 people out of every 1,000 in the region in forced marriage.

No bonded labour in India: SC

Last week the Supreme Court of India had said that there are no bonded labourers in the country and that there is a racket running on the pretext of bonded labour.

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“Do you know who are bonded labourers? They are not bonded. They take money and come there and are engaged by brick kilns. They come from backward areas. They take money and eat the money and then resign. This is a racket. These labourers only take advantage of this bonded labourer thing,” Justice Hemant Gupta had said.

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