World

50 million people trapped in modern slavery, UN says

50 million people trapped in 'modern slavery', UN says

According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk. (Represent)

Geneva, Switzerland:

The United Nations today said 50 million people around the world are trapped in forced labor or forced marriage, and warned that their rankings have risen dramatically in recent years.

The United Nations has set a goal of eliminating all forms of modern slavery by 2030, but instead, the number of people subjected to forced labor or forced marriage has increased to 10 million between 2016 – 2021, according to a new report.

Research conducted by UN agencies on labor and migration and the Walk Free Foundation shows that at the end of last year, 28 million people were in forced labor, while 22 million were living in a life-threatening situation. marriage in which they were forced.

That means nearly one in 150 people in the world are caught up in modern forms of slavery, the report said.

Guy Ryder, head of the International Labor Organization (ILO), said in a statement: “It is shocking that the situation of modern slavery has not improved.

“Nothing can justify the persistence of this fundamental human rights abuse.”

‘Life imprisonment’

The Covid-19 pandemic, worsening conditions and rising debt levels for many workers, has increased the risk, the report found.

Together with the impacts of climate change and armed conflict, it has contributed to “unprecedented disruption to employment and education, increased extreme poverty and forced and undocumented migration”. safe”, adds to the threat.

This is a long-term problem, the report warns, with estimates showing that forced labor can last for years and forced marriage is often a “life sentence”.

Women and children are by far the most vulnerable.

Children make up one-fifth of those subjected to forced labor, the report said, with more than half of them trapped in commercial sexual exploitation.

Meanwhile, migrant workers are three times more likely to be subjected to forced labor than non-migrant adult workers, it found.

Antonio Vitorino, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said: “This report highlights the urgency of ensuring that all migrations are safe, orderly and regular.

Modern slavery is present in every country in the world, with more than half of all cases of forced labor and a quarter of forced marriages in high or low middle income countries. high input.

The report shows that the number of people – mainly women and girls – trapped in forced marriages has increased by 6.6 million since the last global estimate in 2016.

Focus on China

The number of people forced to work has increased by 2.7 million people over the same period.

The increase was driven entirely by more forced labor in the private economy, including commercial sexual exploitation.

But the report also says 14% of those subjected to forced labor are in jobs imposed by state authorities, expressing concern about the abuses of forced prison labor in a number of countries, including USA.

It also points to serious concerns raised by the United Nations rights office about “credible accounts of forced labor under particularly harsh conditions” in North Korea.

And it highlights the situation in China, where several UN agencies have warned of the possibility of forced labor, including in the Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of detaining more than one person. million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

Beijing has vehemently denied such allegations, claiming that it is running vocational training centers to help eradicate extremism.

A report released on August 31 by former United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said more information was needed, but labor programs in the region appeared to be discriminatory and “involving coercive factors”.

The report welcomes China’s ratification of the ILO Forced Labor Convention last month, creating “new impetus to work with governments and social partners to pursue these (and) against forced labour.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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