A new global slavery study shows more than 40 million people are living as slaves in different regions of the world, particularly Africa.
According to a report released Tuesday by the International Labor Office (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, approximately 40.3 million men, women and children were victims of “modern slavery” in 2016.
The study, named the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, is based on surveys by the two groups in 48 countries and interviews with more than 71,000 people.
Approximately 1/4 of them are children. Data (2016) show that 24.9 million people worldwide were involved in forced labor and 15.4 million in forced marriages. 71% of modern slaves are women and children.
A second report within the same study shows that 152 million children between 5 and 17, roughly one in 10, are forced to work – 64 million of them are girls, 88 million boys. Most of them are in Africa (72.1 million). There are 62 million in Asia, 10.7 million in North and South America, 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia, 1.2 million in the Arab countries.
About a third of children between the ages of 5 and 14 who work are outside the education system. 38% of them work at risk, nearly 2/3 of those between 15 and 17 years of age work more than 43 hours a week.
Nearly five million people in the world were sex slaves in 2016, according to the report.
“What is startling about these new estimates is the sheer scale of the modern slave trade and the fact that we have 40 million people across the world in some form of modern slavery is simply not acceptable,” said Fiona David, executive director of global research at the Walk Free Foundation.
“If you have a situation where someone is sold into marriage and is providing free domestic labor … when you take the label of marriage away from this situation it’s often nothing less than slavery,” said David. “It isn’t clear why forced marriage has often been overlooked as a form of slavery.”