It is impossible to know the full scale of modern slavery. What we do know is that it affects many millions of people worldwide.
Global estimates put the figure at more than 40 million.
The victims are young girls raped 20 times a day in brothels. Eight-year-old boys forced to work in blisteringly hot and unsafe factories to produce cheap goods for the West – barely sleeping, eating or drinking. Innocent children working in fields or forced into begging. Men and women having their organs cut out and sold to Western bidders.
Human trafficking is the greatest human tragedy that has fallen upon us. It has to be avoided and the younger generation has to be the torchbearers against it.
President Ram Nath Kovind of India, Justice and Care Reception
The scale of modern slavery – facts and figures:
- An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.
- It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
- 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
- Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
- Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors
Justice and Care, our vital work helps rescue victims of slavery and human trafficking. We empower them to rebuild their lives. We work with the police to pursue and dismantle criminal networks and bring perpetrators to justice. We secure communities at risk from traffickers and spark systemic change
Types of slavery
Modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation can take many forms. Some of the most common types of slavery are:
Child marriage can be used as part of the trafficking process, where children are married and then disappear. It can also be used by men to exploit children, using them as domestic servants and sex slaves with one exploiter.
I was only 10, he was 55. He already had two wives, and as the third I was expected to look after his goats and cows. Nine months later, because I had still not given him a baby, he began tasking me with all the difficult jobs.
This is where victims are forced into criminality such as carrying drugs, theft and benefit fraud.
We’d be driven to different street corners to sell cocaine, and one of the guys would stand behind us with a gun, collecting the cash.
Where victims are forced to work in people’s homes with little or no money and restricted freedom. They can be used to clean, cook and look after children – often all of these things.
They worked me all day, from sunrise to sunset. They beat and abused me.’
This is when people are forced, coerced or inadequately rewarded for physical work. We often see this happening in factories, agriculture, construction, nail bars and hand carwashes.
We were forced to work up to 22 hours a day, even when we were sick. Two of the people I worked with died from exhaustion.
Victims are trafficked for their internal organs, sold often to the highest Western bidder.
There were 20 to 25 other persons sitting. I was told to shut up and be quiet and sit there. About 10 minutes later, the agent arrived and said get ready as I was going for a test. They wanted to test my kidney.
Victims are forced to perform sexual acts including in brothels, people’s homes and through online abuse.
Men would come in, often smelling of alcohol. They would touch me all over and rape me.’
A much more thorough piece of work on the types of slavery with excellent case studies has been put together by the UK Government. It can be found here.