4 June 2012

Nigeria: '21 Million Trapped in Forced Labour'

Photo: IRIN/M. Deghati
A woman watches children working at a stone quarry, Zambia, in March 2007

NO fewer than 21 million people are presently victims of forced labour globally, International Labour Organisation, ILO, has said.

ILO, in a statement, weekend, said these unfortunate victims are trapped in jobs they were either coerced or deceived into, which they cannot leave.

According to the statement, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced labourers in the world with 11.7 million (56 percent) of the global total, followed by Africa at 3.7 million (18 percent) and Latin America, with 1.8 million victims (nine percent).

Head of the ILO's Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, Beate Andrees, said methodology had been revised and improved since ILO's initial estimate in 2005 and the numbers were more robust now.

He said: "We have come a long way over the last seven years since we first put an estimate on how many people were forced into labour or services across the world. We have also made good progress ensuring most countries now have legislation which criminalises forced labour, human trafficking and slavery-like practices."

The release noted that "three out of every 1,000 people worldwide are in forced labour today. 18.7 million (90 %) are exploited in the private economy by individuals or enterprises. Of these, 4.5 million (22 percent) are victims of forced sexual exploitation and 14.2 million (68 percent) are victims of forced labour exploitation in economic activities, such as agriculture, construction, domestic work or manufacturing.

"2.2 million (10%) are in state-imposed forms of forced labour, for example in prisons, or in work imposed by the state military or by rebel armed forces. 5.5 million (26 %) are below 18 years."

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