2022 Assembly

2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery and Child Labour


According to research recently published by the,  (comprising the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, (IOM), in 2016 more than 40. 3 million women, men and children globally, were victims of modern slavery. Of these people, 24.9 million were in forced labour and 15.4 million were in forced marriage.
Children now comprise 25% of the entire number of victims of modern slavery.
In terms of a gender breakdown, the data indicates there are more females (71%) than males (29%) in modern slavery.
The rate of modern slavery is highest in Africa, with 7.6 victims for every 1,000 people in the region, followed by 6.1% in Asia-the Pacific region and 3.9% in Europe and Central Asia. The rate is 3.3% in the Arab states and 1.9% in the Americas.
Forced Labour – The research indicates that in the private sector 16 million people are exploited through forced labour and suggests the following apply to the term ‘’Exploitation by economic activity:’’

  • Agriculture /fishing.
  • Accommodation/food.
  • Art/illicit/begging.
  • Construction.
  • Domestic work.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Mining.
  • Personal services.
  • Wholesale/trade.

Forced sexual exploitation – Some 4.8 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation, captured for approximately 23.4 months before escaping or being released. The vast majority are women and girls, with 20% of the victims being children.
Forced labour by State authorities – In 2016,  4.1 million people worldwide were victims of forced labour by State authorities, for such purposes as economic development; communal service; Compulsory prison labour and conscription.  
Forced marriage – In 2016, 5.4 million people were trapped in forced marriages, 84% of whom were women and girls. The youngest victim in the research sample was aged 9 when she was forced to marry.
Migration – In the case of victims of forced labour who have migrated, most were exploited in a country in the same income-based regional grouping as their home country. But a larger proportion of victims from lower-middle-income regions were exploited in higher-income regions.
 Child Labour –The research defines child labour in terms of international standards as ‘’work that is hazardous, demands too many hours or is performed by children who are too young. Often, it puts their wellbeing at risk, deprives them of time for healthy childhood play  or denies them their right to education’’ and is clear that not all work performed by children is exploitative.
The research acknowledges a distinct decrease in the numbers of children involved in child labour, recording a drop in the number by 94 million between the years 2000 and 2016,  .
However, the research finds that globally, there are 151. 6 million children (aged between 5-17) in child labour. 72.5 million children are performing hazardous work that places their health, safety or moral development at risk.
More boys than girls are involved in child labour, with girls assigned household work in the main.
The risk of child labour is greatest in Africa, with the ratio of 1:5, followed by Asia and the Pacific.
Child labour is not limited to poorer countries, with the research indicating that more than 50% of affected children live in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries.  
There is a greater risk to children who live in countries experiencing disasters and conflict. In such circumstances, reduced or non-existent income, a breakdown in support networks, displacement and disruptions in basic services can heighten the risk of child labour.
Agriculture remains the dominant sector in which child labour obtains, with seven out of ten children working in subsistence and commercial farming and herding livestock, work which is often hazardous.
Almost one third of children in child labour are unable to avail of education, working an average of 43 hours weekly.  The research states ‘’those who are able to attend school tend to perform more poorly than their non-working peers. The time and energy they spend working interferes with their ability to benefit fully from classroom hours and to study outside the classroom.’’
Full report available at:!section=0
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.