Report: Over 40 Million People Are Enslaved Worldwide

One of the more underreported stories is that sadly, slavery is still ongoing throughout the world and millions of people are suffering as a result of it.

A Global Estimates of Modern Slavery study authored by the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration, and Walk Free Foundation found that approximately 40.3 million people are subjected to slavery worldwide.

The enslaved individuals were victims of forced labor or subjected into marriages without consent: (H/T: Washington Post)

An estimated 24.9 million people were victims of forced labor in 2016, the report found. Most of these people (64 percent) were in forced labor exploitation in the private economy, most likely to be domestic workers, construction workers or those in manufacturing. A further 19 percent were in forced sexual exploitation while 17 percent were in state-imposed forced labor.

Separate to this concept of forced labor is another definition of slavery: forced marriage, which makes up 38 percent, or 15.4 million, of the total number. Notably, women and girls make up 88 percent of forced marriages, as well as 99 percent of sexual exploitation.

Approximately 71% of those enslaved are women and girls; 25% are under 18 years of age.

Slavery was found to be most common in Africa (7.6 victims per 1,000 people), followed by Asia and the Pacific (6.7 victims per 1,000 people), Europe and Central Asia (3.9 per 1,000 people), Arab States (3.3 victims per 1,000 people) and the Americas (1.9 victims per 1,000 people).

The study reached these numbers by surveying over 71,000 people among nearly 50 countries; the total number of people subjected to slavery is likely higher than 40.3 million since slavery is now underground and illegal and it's difficult to determine how many victims of slavery there are in "high conflict" places like Syria.

The ILO also issued a report stating that there are 152 million children who are subjected to child labor globally, with the practice being most common in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

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