Epidemics, armed conflict, and climate change have worsened the situation, driving people into forced labor or marriage.
The number of people caught in forced labor or forced marriage and other crises has risen by a fifth in recent years to nearly 50 million on any given day, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Monday.
A study by the UN agency for labor and migration, as well as the Walk Free Foundation, found that at the end of last year, more than half of them were forced to work against their will, the ILO said. And the rest were forced into marriage.
This means that nearly one in every 150 people in the world is in modern forms of slavery, the report said.
Both fall under the definition of modern slavery because they include people who “cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, fraud, abuse of power, or other forms of coercion,” it said. added.
The United Nations has set a goal of ending all forms of modern slavery by 2030, but the number of people trapped in forced labor or forced marriage increased by 10 million between 2016 and 2021, according to a new report.
The situation was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which worsened conditions and increased debt levels for many workers, as well as armed conflict and climate change, pushing people into extreme poverty, the agency said. I left and was forced to migrate further.
“I think, by and large, that we have eased our efforts. We have averted our eyes when it comes to forced labour,” ILO director-general Guy Ryder told Reuters. Demanding improvements in recruitment practices and labor inspection.
Trade measures, such as bans on products made with forced labor and imports such as those currently under review by the European Union, could also help, he said.
Modern slavery exists in basically every country, with more than half of all cases of forced labor and a quarter of forced marriages in upper-middle-income or high-income countries.
“It would be a mistake to believe that forced labor is only a problem in poor countries,” Ryder told AFP news agency.
The ILO said migrant workers were three times more likely to be infected than local people.
The ILO also said that women and children are by far the most vulnerable. The report found that one in five children are in forced labor, more than half of whom are trapped in commercial sexual exploitation.
But the report also notes that 14 percent of those in forced labor are working in jobs mandated by state authorities, raising concerns about forced labor in many countries, including the United States.
It also pointed to serious concerns raised by the UN rights office about “credible accounts of forced labor under exceptionally harsh conditions” in North Korea.
And he shed light on the situation in China, pointing to concerns about allegations of forced labor in some parts of the country.
He cited an August 31 report by the UN rights office that said China had committed “serious human rights violations” and that Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang were being persecuted. Detention can amount to crimes against humanity.
China has strongly denied the allegations and ratified two conventions against forced labor last month.
That means “they will start reporting on the Uyghur situation, and that will give us new opportunities to gain access and go deeper into the situation,” Ryder told AFP. Told to
He acknowledged that the discussion about workers’ rights in Xinjiang was “not an easy discussion … but obviously, it’s very important”.
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