Over 50 Million Stuck in Modern Slavery, Forced Marriages, UN Says

Nearly one out of every 150 people in the world is caught up in modern forms of slavery or forced marriage, a UN report said, noting that compared to the last count, the number of people in modern slavery increased dramatically.

The new report based on a study by the UN’s agencies for labor and migration along with the Walk Free Foundation points out that despite the United Nations’ goal to eradicate all forms of modern slavery by 2030, the number of people caught up in forced labor or forced marriage ballooned by 10 million between 2016 and 2021.

The latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery Report snowed Monday that fifty million people were living in modern slavery in 2022, almost 28 million of which were in forced labor, and another 22 million – mainly women and girls – were trapped in forced marriage.

The number of forced marriages had risen by a full 6.6 million since the last global estimates.

The report cautioned that forced marriage is often a life sentence, estimates are indicating entrapment in forced labor can last years.

The study found that according to the latest figures, more than 3.3 million of the 27.6 million people in forced labor were children, and more than half of them were also stuck in commercial sexual exploitation.

It also noted that more than half of forced labor and a quarter of forced marriages occurred in either high-income or upper-middle-income countries and that migrant workers were more than three times as likely to be affected by the situation.

The report noted that 14% of forced labor jobs were imposed by state authorities, including in the United States, voicing concern about abuse of compulsory prison labor in a number of countries.

Guy Ryder, head of the International Labor Organization (ILO), emphasized in his statement how shocking it is that the situation of this fundamental abuse of human rights is not improving, stressing that nothing can justify the persistence of modern slavery.

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