Modern slavery facts and figures

How many men, women and children are in modern slavery across the world? Are some countries worse than others? Here are eight things you need to know about modern slavery and human trafficking.

1. In 2016, at any given time, an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide were in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million people in forced marriage. 70% of these are women and girls.

2. This equates to 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.

3. 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.

4. Of the 24.9 million victims of forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector including domestic work, construction or agriculture. 4.8 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million people were in forced labour imposed by state authorities.

5. Women and girls account for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% of other sectors in other sectors of forced labour.

6. There is no typical victim of slavery. Victims are men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities and cut across the population. However, it’s normally more prevalent among the most vulnerable or within minority or socially excluded groups. In 2018, the UK Modern Slavery Helpline indicated that 3,280 potential victims of modern slavery cases were men, while 1,476 were women. Child victims are victims of child abuse and should therefore be treated as such using existing child protection procedures and statutory protocols.

7. Poverty, limited opportunities at home, lack of education, unstable social and political conditions, economic imbalances and war are some of the key drivers that contribute to someone’s vulnerability in becoming a victim of modern slavery. What’s more, victims can often face more than one type of abuse and slavery, for example, being sold on to another trafficker and then forced into another form of exploitation.

8. Potential victims of human trafficking were reported from 130 different nationalities in 2018 according to the National Crime Agency's National Referral Mechanism statistics. UK, Albanian and Vietnamese nationals were the most commonly reported potential victims. 6,993 potential victims were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism in 2018, which was a 36% increase on 2017.

For further facts and figures you can use these links:

National Referral Mechanism Statistics
Trafficking in Persons Report
United Nations Global Report

International Labour Organization

Modern Slavery Helpline 2019 Annual Assessment

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