Forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking

Facts and figures

  • 49.6 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021, of which 27.6 million were in forced labour and 22 million in forced marriage.
  • Of the 27.6 million people in forced labour, 17.3 million are exploited in the private sector; 6.3 million in forced commercial sexual exploitation, and 3.9 million in forced labour imposed by state.
  • Women and girls account for 4.9 million of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation, and for 6 million of those in forced labour in other economic sectors.
  • 12% of all those in forced labour are children. More than half of these children are in commercial sexual exploitation.
  • The Asia and the Pacific region has the highest number of people in forced labour (15.1 million) and the Arab States the highest prevalence (5.3 per thousand people).
  • Addressing decent work deficits in the informal economy, as part of broader efforts towards economic formalization, is a priority for progress against forced labour.
Source: Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage, Geneva, September 2022.

Focus on

  1. The Fair Recruitment Initiative

    The ILO has launched a global “Fair Recruitment Initiative” to: (i) help prevent human trafficking; (ii) protect the rights of workers, including migrant workers, from abusive and fraudulent practices during the recruitment and placement process; and (iii) reduce the cost of labour migration and enhance development gains.

  2. 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

    ILO contributions to achieve SDG Targent 8.7

    Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and end child labour in all its forms.

It's time to ratify the ILO's Forced Labour Protocol

  1. The new legally-binding ILO Protocol on Forced Labour aims to strengthen global efforts towards combating forced labour, trafficking and slavery-like practices. Governments now have the opportunity to ratify the Protocol and integrate new measures at the national and regional levels to combat this crime.

Publications

  1. Publication

    Ethical guidelines for research on child labour

    26 January 2024

  2. Publication

    Ethical guidelines for research on forced labour

    26 January 2024

  3. Factsheet on Forced Labour

    Eradicating Forced Labour: Partnering strategically with ILO

    24 January 2024