Modern Slavery - What you need to know

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Modern Slavery - What you need to know

Slavery did not end with abolition in the 19th century but instead continues to occur in today’s society. Modern Slavery is a serious crime and an international problem which affects an estimated 29.8m vulnerable people who are exploited and have their basic human rights restricted for criminal gain.

Someone is identified as a modern slave if they are;

  • made to work through force or threatening actions

  • owned or controlled by an employer through mental or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse

  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’

  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.


Forms of exploitation can range include;

  • Forced labour – any work or services individuals are forced to do against their will and under the threat of punishment.

  • Debt bondage or bonded labour – work which is carried out to pay off debt.

  • Human trafficking– transporting, recruiting or harbouring people for the purpose of exploitation.

  • Descent-based slavery – where children are born into slavery.

  • Child slavery – often confused with child labour, child slavery occurs through exploited for someone else’s gain. It can include child trafficking, child soldiers, forced child marriage and child domestic slavery.


Who can be affected?

  • Any age, gender or race.

  • People who live in poverty and have limited opportunities for decent work

  • People who are discriminated against on the basis of race, caste, or gender

  • Residents of areas where the rule of law is weaker and corruption is rife.

Global facts about slavery

  • 20.9 million people are in modern slavery across the world

  • 5.5 million children are in slavery across the world

  • 11.7 million people are in slavery in the Asia-Pacific region, mostly in bonded labour

  • 3.7 million people are in slavery in Africa

  • 1.6 million people are in slavery in Latin America

  • 1.5 million people are in slavery in developed economies

  • 14.2 million slavery victims are exploited in economic activities

  • 4.5 million people are in forced into sexual exploitation

  • 98% of people trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls

  • 2.2 million people in slavery are exploited by governments