NewsAsiaMore than 50 million people live as slaves for work or forced marriages

More than 50 million people live as slaves for work or forced marriages

File – Children working in a brick factory in Bangladesh – MUSTASINUR RAHMAN ALVI / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTPHOT

More than 50 million people are victims of what the UN considers ‘modern slavery’, that is, with invisible chains associated with forced labor or unwanted marriages that extend not only in poor countries.

The Report on Modern Slavery, prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), estimates that 28 million people live as labor slaves and some 22 million suffer forced marriages.

In 2016, the global estimate was just ten million, which shows how widespread exploitation has become. Experts have insisted that women and children are especially vulnerable.

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Modern slavery, however, does not understand macroeconomic data, since more than half of forced labor and a quarter of marriages correspond to countries that have at least a medium income.

In the case of forced labor, the vast majority, 86 percent, corresponds to the private sector, while sexual exploitation alone represents 23 percent of the total. Among the victims, there are 3.3 million minors, mainly girls.

Women are also the main victims of forced marriages, a scourge that the UN itself admits is overwhelming in terms of data, since the 22 million collected in the latest report do not include all cases of child weddings.

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More than 85 percent of cases derive from family pressure and almost two thirds are confined to the Asia-Pacific region. In Arab countries the prevalence of forced marriages is around 4.8 per thousand.

The director general of the IOM, Antonio Vitorino, has appealed to the “urgency” of guaranteeing, for example, that migration is “safe, orderly and regular”. Not surprisingly, migrants are three times more likely to suffer from this modern variable of slavery.

For the director of the ILO, Guy Rider, it is “shocking” that the situation does not improve, despite the theoretical global awareness. For this reason, he has called for “effective national policies and regulations”, but has also pointed out that “governments cannot do this alone” and require the collaboration of all parties, including unions and employers.

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Source: Europa Press


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