According to the ILO studies
nowadays there are 21 million
enslaved human beings, the
majority is exploited in the
private economy. State imposed
forced labour is rapidly
declining due to the
development of legislation
More than half is made of women
and girls working as prostitutes or
as domestic workers.
The remaining percentage is made
of enslaved men working in various
industries (textiles, constructions)
or in agriculture.
The Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced labourers, 56 %.
In Africa we have evidence of 660,000 forced labourers especially in the Sahel region,
working in unbearable conditions.
Talking about Latin America, we also have data (1,3 million people) about forced
labourers, such as trash pickers, prostitutes, baby prostitutes and youths forced into
Even though the issue may seem really far from us, we have to remember that the
products we use are often made by slaves and human trafficking is something that
concerns the European Union. The eastern nations are frequently used as routes for
smugglers to traffick slaves into the western part of UE.
ILO studies tell that modern slavery
and human trafficking are often
linked to organized crime and
The strongest sector in these
activities is the private one, since
new laws and legislations are
restricting state-imposed forced
To give an idea of the strength of the
private sector, we have to say that in the
Asian Pacific region, there are recruitment
agencies, that ‘employ’ slaves.
Even though we know that state-imposed
slavery is declining, because of corruption
politicians too are sometimes involved in
human rights violations ( also because the
remittances are paid in a foreign currency).
This means that in certain countries the
ones who hold the power are not interested
in fixing this issue, because they make
profits out of it.
Analyzing the economic and social factors that drive a person into slavery or human
trafficking, there are five main causes:
3.lack of education
Poverty and income shocks hail from
social mobility and unequal distribution
In many emerging countries, we often
see opposite situations, such as
unbelievable wealth and heart-breaking
Poverty Income shocks
While for us losing a few pence is not a
tragedy, in emerging countries it means
not having the possibility of eating or
having running water. Therefore
subjects are willing to work even in
unbearable conditions to make ends
We just need to look at the data to
understand why gender is listed
among the causes.
More than half of the enslaved
human beings is made of women
and girls working in the so called
sex industry or as domestic
workers, two of the most cost-
effective sectors. Moreover in many
countries, women are less
protected than men, from a legal
point of view.
Migration is mostly linked to human
trafficking and smuggling. Having said
this, it is strictly linked to gender and
lack of education too. To gender
because really often the first to move
is the woman, who migrates to work
in the domestic field. Often these
women reach their destination, but
are foisted into prostitution.
Very often it also happens that to
extinguish the debt of the journey, the
migrants are forced to work for their
Lack of education is not only linked to slavery but also to social mobility (how easily a
subject can improve his/her social status) and migration.
This link is due to the fact that migrants, once they have reached their destinations, are
often threatened of physical and psychological abuse, which has a certain impact on an
illiterate subject, whose knowledge comes from religion.
Its link to social mobility lays in the fact that without education a slave does not have
the tools to gain his/her rightful freedom.
Lack of Education
Bibliography To learn more
International Labour Organization
The Universal Declaration of Human
Ed Kashi photography
Lisa Kristine photography