Fifty million people forced to work or marry, says UN

Fifty million people forced to work or marry, UN says

Around 27.6 million people are forced to work worldwide, many of them children.

Modern slavery has continued to spread around the world in recent years, driven in particular by the pandemic, with nearly 50 million people forced to work or marry there. #x27;last year, the UN announced on Monday.

That's almost 1 in 150 people.

The UN wants to eradicate this scourge by 2030, but last year 10 million more people were in modern slavery than in 2016 global estimates, according to the latest report released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – two UN agencies – with the NGO Walk Free Foundation.

Of the 50 million modern slaves, almost 27.6 million were people subjected to forced labor and 22 million were people married against their will.

We urgently call for mandatory due diligence for companies to prevent the use of forced labor and other violations in supply chains, said Sharan Burrow, Secretary General Assembly of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents 332 affiliated organizations worldwide.

The pandemic caused by the coronavirus – which has led to deteriorating working conditions and increased indebtedness for workers – has strengthened the springs of modern slavery.

But COVID-19 does not explain everything, ILO Director General Guy Ryder told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In recent years, the increase in armed conflicts and climate change have contributed to increasing the risk of modern slavery, causing unprecedented disruptions in employment and education, worsening the x27;extreme poverty, increasing forced migration and exploding cases of gender-based violence.

Mr. Ryder calls on governments but also on workers' unions, employers' organizations, civil society and ordinary people to fight against this fundamental violation of human rights.

Children work in an embroidery factory in New Delhi, India.

In particular, the report proposes improving and enforcing labor laws and inspections, ending state-imposed forced labor, expanding social protections and strengthening labor rights. legal protections, including raising the legal age of marriage to 18 without exception.

Women and girls account for a total of 54% of modern slavery cases . Nearly one in eight forced laborers is a child and more than half of them are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Migrant workers, meanwhile, are more than three times more likely to be subjected to forced labor than non-migrant adults.

Antonio Vitorino, the Director General of IOM, advocates for all migration to be safe, orderly and regular, in order to reduce the vulnerability of migrants.

Director of the International Organization for Migration, Antonio Vitorino believes that the vulnerability of migrants must be reduced.

Modern slavery is present in almost every country in the world.

More than half (52%) of all cases of forced labor and a quarter of all marriages forced marriages are found in upper-middle-income or high-income countries.

Forced marriage has increased in recent years, up by 6.6 million since 2016 global estimates.

The report also reveals that the number of people in a situation of forced labor increased by 2.7 million between 2016 and 2021, an increase solely due to the use of this type of work in the private sector, in particular within the framework of the ;commercial sexual exploitation.

Compared to the size of the population, it is in the Arab countries that forced labor is the most important. In absolute numbers, Asia and the Pacific is home to more than half of the world's total number of forced labourers. The report specifically highlights that various UN bodies have raised concerns about forced labor in China, including in Xinjiang.

Uighurs in a re-education camp in China. (archives)

On August 12, this country deposited the instruments of ratification of the two fundamental ILO conventions on forced labour, which – according to this organization – creates a new impetus for cooperation with the government and social partners to follow up on these issues [and] combat forced labor.

This means, Ryder explained, that China will start informing about the situation of the Uighurs and this will give us new possibilities of access.

But he recognized that the discussion on Xinjiang was not easy.

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