50 million people around the world are trapped in forced labor or forced marriage. Their numbers have increased dramatically in recent years. Such information was revealed in a United Nations report on Monday.
The United Nations has set a target of eliminating all forms of modern slavery by 2030. But in reality, the opposite has been seen. A new report found that between 2016 and 2021, the number of people trapped in forced labor or forced marriage rose by 10 million.
A study by UN labor and migration agencies, including the Walk Free Foundation, found that at the end of last year, 28 million people were held in forced labor and 22 million people were forced into marriage.
According to the report, this equation means that about one in every 150 people in the world is a victim of modern slavery.
International Labor Organization (ILO) chief Guy Ryder said in a statement, ‘It is shocking that the situation of modern slavery is not improving. Nothing can justify the persistence of this fundamental abuse of human rights’.
According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the global situation and increased debt levels for many workers, increasing risks.
The effects of climate change and armed conflict have led to unprecedented disruptions in employment and education, increased extreme poverty, and increased forced and unsafe migration.
This is a long-term problem, the report warned. Detention in forced labor can last for years and forced marriage is often a ‘life sentence’.
One in five children are trapped in forced labor. More than half of children are victims of commercial sex work. Migrant workers, on the other hand, are three times more likely than non-immigrant adult workers to be in forced labor captivity.
Antonio Vitorino, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said in a statement: “This report emphasizes the urgency of ensuring that all migration is safe, orderly and regular.”
Modern slavery exists in virtually every country in the world. More than half of people in upper-middle-income or high-income countries are victims of forced labor and a quarter are victims of forced marriage.
According to the report, the number of women and girls subjected to forced marriage has increased by 6.6 million since the last global estimate in 2016.
During the same period, the number of people in forced labor increased by 2.2 million and 70 thousand. 14 percent of forced laborers are doing work imposed by state authorities. Several countries, including the United States, have expressed concern about the abuse of mandatory rigorous imprisonment.
The United Nations has expressed concern about forced inhumane labor under harsh conditions in North Korea. The report also highlights the situation in China. Beijing is accused of detaining more than a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region in particular. Several UN agencies have warned of possible forced labor over the situation there.
However, Beijing strongly rejected such allegations. They claim they are running vocational training centers to help eradicate extremism.
A report released on August 31 by former UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said more information was needed. However, labor schemes in the region appeared to be discriminatory and ‘coercive’.
The report last month endorsed the ILO Forced Labor Convention. ‘These issues have created new momentum for collaboration between governments and social partners to combat forced labour,’ they said.