MEDIA RELEASE: 40 million in modern slavery and 152 million in child labour around the world #Achieve87

New York, 19 September 2017 – New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world. The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. The ILO have also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour.

The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.

The research reveals that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25 million were in forced labour, and 15 million were in forced marriage.

Child labour remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9 per cent). Almost one in five child labourers work in the services sector (17.1 per cent) while 11.9 per cent of child labourers work in industry.

Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, said: “The message the ILO is sending today – together with our partners in Alliance 8.7 – is very clear: the world won’t be in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless we dramatically increase our efforts to fight these scourges. These new global estimates can help shape and develop interventions to prevent both forced labour and child labour.”

Mr Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman and Founder of the Walk Free Foundation, said: “The fact that as a society we still have 40 million people in modern slavery, on any given day shames us all. If we consider the results the last five years, for which we have collected data, 89 million people experienced some form of modern slavery for periods of time ranging from a few days to the whole five years. This speaks to the deep seated discrimination and inequalities in our world today, coupled with a shocking tolerance of exploitation. This has to stop. We all have a role to play in changing this reality – business, government, civil society, every one of us.”

About the data

The new global estimates are a collective effort from members of Alliance 8.7, the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour that brings together key partners representing governments, UN organisations, the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.

The data is published in two reports:

  • Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage, prepared jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Global estimates of child labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016, prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO)

The 2017 Global Estimates can be found online at www.alliance87.org/2017ge

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Notes to Editors

Modern slavery

There are an estimated 40 million people trapped in Modern Slavery. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. One in four victims of modern slavery are children, or about 10 million children. Some 37 percent (or 5.7 million) of those forced to marry were children

Forced labour

An estimated 25 million people were in forced labour at any moment in time in 2016. Out of them, 16 million people were in forced labour exploitation in the private sector such as domestic work, construction, agriculture, about 5 million persons were in forced sexual exploitation, and just over four million persons (or 16 per cent of the total) were in forced labour imposed by their state authorities.

Forced marriage

An estimated 15. 4 million people were living in a forced marriage at any moment in time in 2016. Of this total, 6.5 million cases had occurred in the past 5 years (2012-2016) and the remainder had taken place prior to this period but continued into it. More than one third of all victims of forced marriage were children at the time of the marriage, and almost all child victims were girls.

Child labour

152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labour and account for almost one in ten children around the world. The highest number of children aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labour were to be found in Africa (72.1 million), followed by Asia and the Pacific (62 million), the Americas (10.7 million), Europe and Central Asia (5.5 million) and the Arab States (1.2 million). Approximately one third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labour are outside the education system. 38 per cent of children in hazardous work aged 5 to 14 and almost two-thirds of those aged 15-17 work more than 43 hours per week.

Media contacts

International Labour Organization: Please contact the ILO Department of Communication and Public Information at +4122/799-7912, newsroom@ilo.org

Walk Free Foundation: Please contact Martina Ucnikova, Head of Media and Communications, Walk Free Foundation, +61 428 997 881, mucnikova@minderoo.com.au

International Organization for Migration: Please contact Leonard Doyle, Head Media and Communications Division IOM/Spokesperson, Tel: +41 79 285 71 23 Email: ldoyle@iom.int

About the Alliance 8.7

Alliance 8.7 is a global strategic partnership committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, which calls on the world to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. Alliance 8.7 seeks to achieve Target 8.7 and related Targets 5.2, 16.2, 16.3 and 16.a through the alignment of global, regional and national efforts, and by focusing on accelerating timelines, sharing knowledge, driving innovation and leveraging resources.

About the International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work. It sets international labour standards, promotes rights at work and encourages decent employment opportunities, the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO has a unique structure, bringing together governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives. It was founded in 1919 and has 187 member States.

About the Walk Free Foundation

The Walk Free Foundation is an international human rights organisation founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest. It encompasses their vision to see the end of modern slavery globally. The Foundation provides the information and capabilities required for countries to fight slavery in their jurisdictions. The Walk Free Foundation engages with governments (Global Slavery Index), business/corporations (Bali Process Business Forum) and global faiths (Global Freedom Network).

About the International Organization for Migration

Established in 1951, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With 166 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.