ILO: profits from forced labor reach $236 billion a year

МОТ: прибыль от использования принудительного труда достигает 236 млрд долларов в год

Clothing factory in Bangladesh. ILO: profits from forced labor reach $236 billion a year Human Rights

Illegal profits from forced labor in the private sector have increased by 37 percent since 2014, reaching $236 billion annually. Such data are provided in a new report prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Such a sharp increase – by more than a third over the past ten years – is explained by an increase in both the number of people involved in forced labor and the income from their exploitation.

According to estimates in the ILO report “Profit and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor”, traffickers and criminals earn almost $10,000 per victim of forced labor, compared with ten years ago, adjusted for inflation, this amount was $8,269.

The highest profits from forced labor are in Europe and Central Asia ($84 billion per year), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (62 billion), The American continent (52 billion), Africa (20 billion) and the Arab states (18 billion).

In terms of each victim of forced labor, the highest profits are noted in Europe and Central Asia, followed by the Arab states, the Americas, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

Sexual exploitation

More than two-thirds (73 percent) of all illicit profits come from forced commercial sexual exploitation, yet it accounts for only 27 percent of total victims of forced labor in the private sector. This is explained by the significant profit gap between forced commercial sexual exploitation and other forms of forced labor exploitation in the non-state sector: in the first case, $27,252 is earned per victim, in the second, $3,687.

Read also:

UNICEF: 1.4 billion children worldwide lack access to basic social protection

The next most profitable industry to commercial sexual exploitation is industry: $35 billion per year; followed by the services sector (20.8 billion), agriculture (5.0 billion) and domestic work (2.6 billion). These illegal profits come from wages that should rightfully be paid to workers, but are instead forced into the hands of their exploiters.

The Vicious Circle of Poverty and Exploitation

According to rough estimates, in 2021, 27.6 million people were employed in forced labor every day, that is, 3.5 people per thousand inhabitants of the planet. During the period from 2016 to 2021, their number increased by 2.7 million.

“People engaged in forced labor face coercion in a variety of forms, one of the most common being deliberate and systematic deprivation of wages,” said ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo. – Forced labor perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and exploitation, undermining the very essence of human dignity. We now know that the situation in this area is only getting worse. The international community must urgently come together to end injustice, protect workers’ rights, and uphold the principles of justice and equity for all.”

Addressing the Root Causes

The report highlights the urgent need to invest in law enforcement to curb illicit proceeds and bring perpetrators to justice. Among the measures recommended in it are the strengthening of legal mechanisms, the organization of training for law enforcement officials, the expansion of labor inspection to high-risk sectors, and closer coordination in terms of the application of labor and criminal laws.

However, law enforcement measures alone will not end forced labor, the report emphasizes: they must be part of a comprehensive approach that prioritizes addressing the root causes of the phenomenon and providing protection to its victims.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *