If you think humanity has washed itself off the stench of slavery, here is a statement made yesterday based on a report from the United Nations that might change your mind: “There are more people living in slavery today than any other time in human history”- Grace Forrest, co-founder of the Walk Free Anti-slavery organization, said at a UN news conference.
According to the report, which was conducted based on observations and data by Walk Free, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), one in every 130 women (29 million) in the world is living in modern slavery.
The report titled ‘Stacked Odds’ says that these women and girls are exploited by practices of modern slavery including forced labour, debt-bondage, forced marriage, domestic servitude, unlawful recruitment, etc.
Grace added, “Modern slavery is the systematic removal of a person’s freedom, where one person is exploited by another for personal or financial gain.”
Here are some statistics from the report:
Women across the world account for 71% of all slavery victims
They account for 99% of all victims of forced sexual exploitation
84% of all victims of forced marriage are women
More than 58% of all victims of forced labour are women
The above stats, researchers say, are only going to increase as the pandemic will make things worse for women. Save the Children has predicted that more than 500,000 girls are at the risk of being forced into child marriage this year alone.
To help the victims and to spread the word about what these women are going through, Walk Free and the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child program are launching a special program. The objective of this program is to encourage governments around the world to criminalise child and forced marriage. Sadly, more than 136 countries still practice it.
"We know that women and girls are experiencing unprecedented levels of exploitation and forced labor in supply chains of the goods we buy and use every day- clothing, coffee, technology," Forrest said. She also added that she hopes to eliminate Kefala, a practice where a migrant worker is legally bound to their employee or sponsor during their contract period.
(Edited by Athira Nair)