Are we doing enough about modern slavery?
(Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash)

Are we doing enough about modern slavery?

The ILO and the IOM estimate there are 50 million people in situations of 'modern slavery'.

Summary: The ILO (the International Labour Organization), the IOM (The International Organization for Migration) and Walk Free have released a new report estimating that there are 50 million people in situations of "modern slavery" on any given day, which translates to nearly one of every 150 people in the world. More than half of all forced labour happens in wealthier countries in the upper-middle or high-income bracket.

Why this is important: Through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community has committed to ending modern slavery among children by 2025, and universally by 2030 (Target 8.7). Breaches can have a financial dimension too for businesses.

The big theme: What is now widely known as modern slavery is rapidly becoming the next big ESG investing theme. Many investors allocate to ESG funds because they want their investing to align with their values, and they expect statements of intent to be followed up with action. Plus, it’s now becoming a legal issue. Countries are increasingly implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into national legislation, making companies responsible for human rights abuses in their supply chains. And hence courts are increasingly getting involved.



The details


Summary of a story from ILO:

  • The ILO (the International Labour Organization), the IOM (The International Organization for Migration) and Walk Free have released a new report estimating that there are 50 million people in situations of "modern slavery" on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. This number translates to nearly one of every 150 people in the world. The estimates also indicate that situations of modern slavery are by no means transient – entrapment in forced labour can last years. And, in most cases forced marriage is a life sentence.

  • The UN's labour organisation stressed that slavery is not confined to poor countries far away from the Western world - more than half of all forced labour happens in wealthier countries in the upper-middle or high-income bracket. They estimate that about 27.6 million people are in forced labour, of which women and girls make up 11.8 million. The total set out includes 3.3 million children, with more than half in commercial sexual exploitation. And sadly, the situation is not improving.

Let's take a look at why this is important...

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