NEW YORK, USA- A new report by International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Walk Free Foundation reveals that approximately 40.3 million people are trapped in modern slavery worldwide (previous estimates were 45.8 million). Four categories of modern slavery are identified in the report: forced labour, forced marriage, forced sexual exploitation and state-forced labour. Not surprisingly, women and girls are overrepresented in all categories, other than state-forced labour.
Of the 40.3 million victims worldwide, 71% of them are women and girls. Of the 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation in 2016, 99% of victims were female, with one in five being children. Of the 15.4 million people trapped in forced marriages, 84% of them are women and girls. 59% of those in private forced labor are women and girls.
According to Fiona David, head of global research at the Walk Free Foundation, “the gender aspects are fascinating and really important. We see women and girls primarily exploited in domestic work, also commercial sexual exploitation, whereas for men, it’s predominately construction, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing.”
The data from the report was compiled using national surveys from 54 countries, datasets from the International Organization for Migration on victims of human trafficking and child labor and reports from the International Labor Organization on state-forced labor. It admits that there were difficulties estimating figures in conflict zones, such as in Nigeria where Boko Haram is operating and enslaving local populations, with women and girls particularly targeted.
In September 2017, 37 countries signed a call to action on modern slavery at the United Nations.