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Modern Day Slavery: A 2017 Update

The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently released their new report, the 2017 Global Estimates on Modern Day Slavery, and the updated figures show that the practice of slavery is alive and thriving around the globe. According to the report, on any given day in 2016 roughly 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern day slavery. Forced labour accounts for 24.9 million people, and 15.4 million people (mainly young girls), were entrapped in forced marriages.

Graph Courtesy of Alliance 8.7

Breaking the numbers down even further, the report shows that within forced labour, 4.8 million people were victims of forced sexual exploitation. A further 4.1 million people were victims of imposed state exploitation labour. Females, around 71%, make up the majority of victims of all types of exploitation; and one in four victims of modern day slavery is a child.

In addition, the profitability of modern day slavery has never been higher in human history: profits from the slave trade are estimated around $150 billion a year, according to Siddhartha Kara, a modern slavery expert and economist at Harvard University. The average profit a victim generates for their exploiters is more lucrative than any other time, with a single victim generating $3,978 a year. Sex trafficking is vastly more lucrative : the average profit for each victim is $36,000.

Within the United Kingdom, the National Referral Mechanism, a framework for identification and support for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, identified over 3,808 potential victims in 2016, with a third of that number being children compelled in forced labour. However, the British authorities state that exploitation and modern day slavery practices themselves are so underreported within the country, the actual number is likely to be in the tens of thousands of victims.

This post is part of the "See me, free me" initiative, aimed at eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK. Join in on the conversation by using #seemefreeme on Twitter and Facebook.

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