Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1619      November 20, 2013

World’s 21 million victims of forced labour

GENEVA: There are around 21 million people who are victims of forced labour in the world. A Study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) notes that 20.9 million people are trapped in jobs imposed by means of coercion or deception and from which they cannot leave. Most are women, representing 55% of the total, with 11.4 million estimated victims.

Victims of forced sexual exploitation make up 22% of people subjected to forced labour. The work related to sex has “strong ties” with displacements across borders, the study found. Estimates are that 9.1 million people (44%) who are victims of forced labour have moved within their country or abroad.

The main sectors in which there is exploitation of this type of labour are agriculture, construction, domestic work and industries, among which there is a 68% share of victims.

Besides these sectors, linked to the private sector, 2.2 million (10%) of the victims are victims of forced labour imposed by the state, such as in prisons – violating ILO standards – or imposed by armed rebel forces or national armies.

The concentration of victims of forced labour is higher in central and south eastern Europe, where countries have the mark of 4.2 victims of forced labour for every thousand inhabitants. The lowest concentration is in the Euro zone, with a ratio of 1.5 victims of this type of work for every thousand inhabitants. Latin America and the Caribbean have the rate of 3.1 per thousand inhabitants.

The average age of workers is also a concern raised by the study. Of the 20.9 million people, 5.5 million are under 18.


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