Human Trafficking: New Global Estimates of Forced Labor and Modern Slavery

  • Citation: Rosen, Liana W., International Labour Organization, International Organization for Migration, and Walk Free Foundation. Human Trafficking: New Global Estimates of Forced Labor and Modern Slavery. Congressional Research Service, 2017.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • labor
    • forced labor
    • slavery
    • modern slavery
    • Congress
    • human trafficking
    • International Labor Organization

As part of long-standing congressional interest in global human trafficking, some Members have consistently sought greater fidelity in quantifying human trafficking’s prevalence. In September, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the advocacy organization Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization of Migration (IOM), released a new report on the global prevalence of modern slavery (including forced marriage) and forced labor (including sex trafficking and government-imposed forced labor). The report estimated that 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016—including 24.9 million people in forced labor and 15.4 million people in forced marriage. The estimate was based on a new methodology, derived from multiple data sources, household surveys, probabilistic modeling, and analytic reviews of secondary sources. Using 2012-2016 as the reference period for the study, it concluded that some 89 million people had experienced modern slavery in the past five years. The report additionally stressed that its estimates are conservative, noting the lack of data due to underreporting—particularly in conflict zones (estimates of child soldiers, for example, were not included).