The ILO report, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, said two thirds of the estimated total of US$ 150 billion, or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.
|Watch ILO Director-General statement|
The new figure is based on ILO data published in 2012 that estimated the number of people in forced labour, trafficking and modern slavery at 21 million.
Significantly, the new estimate indicates that more than half of the people in forced labour are women and girls, primarily in commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work, while men and boys were primarily in forced economic exploitation in agriculture, construction, and mining.
The breakdown of profits generated by forced economic exploitation is as follows:
- US$ 34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
- US$ 9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
- US$ 8 billion saved by private households by not paying or underpaying domestic workers held in forced labour.
The report highlights income shocks and poverty as the main economic factors that push individuals into forced labour. Other factors contributing to risk and vulnerability include lack of education, illiteracy, gender and migration.
“While progress is being made in reducing state-imposed forced labour, we must now focus on the socio-economic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour in the private sector,” said Beate Andrees, head of the ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour.
Andrees called for a series of measures aimed at reducing vulnerability to forced labour including:
- Bolstering social protection floors to prevent poor households from abusive lending or indenture in the event of sudden income shocks;
- Investing in education and skills training to fortify job opportunities for vulnerable workers;
- Promoting a rights-based approach to migration to prevent irregular employment and abuse of migrant workers; and
- Supporting the organization of workers, including in sectors and industries vulnerable to forced labour.