Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour across the world, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.
According to new ILO global estimates, three out of every 1,000 people worldwide are trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave.
A statement released weekend by the ILO, revealed that the Asia-Pacific region records the largest number of forced labourers in the world accounting for 11.7 million (56 per cent) of the global total, followed by Africa at 3.7 million (18 per cent) and Latin America with 1.8 million victims (9 per cent). It noted that 5.5 million (26 per cent) are below 18 years.
The ILO new estimates further revealed that 18.7 million (90 per cent) are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises. Of these, 4.5 million (22 per cent) are victims of forced sexual exploitation and 14.2 million (68 per cent) are victims of forced labour exploitation in economic activities, such as agriculture, construction, domestic work or manufacturing.
According to the findings, 2.2 million (10 percent) are in state-imposed forms of forced labour, like prisons, or in work imposed by the state military or by rebel armed forces.
Head of the ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, Beate Andrees, said the methodology had been revised and improved since the ILO’s initial estimate in 2005 and the numbers were more robust now.
“We have come a long way over the last seven years since we first put an estimate on how many people were forced into labour or services across the world. We have also made good progress ensuring most countries now have legislation which criminalises forced labour, human trafficking and slavery-like practices,” Andrees said.
Speaking further, Andrees said attention should now turn to better identification and prosecution of forced labour and related offences such as human trafficking.
“The successful prosecution of individuals who bring such misery to so many remains inadequate – this needs to change. We must also ensure that the numbers of victims does not rise during the current economic crisis where people are increasingly vulnerable to these heinous practices,” he added.
“The number of victims per thousand inhabitants is highest in the central and south-eastern Europe and Africa regions at 4.2 and 4.0 per 1,000 inhabitants respectively. It is the lowest in the Developed Economies and European Union at 1.5 per 1,000 inhabitants.
“The relatively high prevalence in central and south-eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States can be explained by the fact that the population is much lower than for example in Asia and at the same time reports of trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation and of state-imposed forced labour in the region are numerous.
“The Developed Economies and European Union have 1.5 million (7 per cent) forced labourers. Central and south-eastern European countries, and the Commonwealth of Independent States account for 1.6 million (7 per cent). There are an estimated 600,000 (3 per cent) victims in the Middle East,” the report stated.
News Source – Thisday