The Economics of Forced Labor

Date: May 28, 2014

The Economics of Forced Labor

International Labor Organization (ILO) has published a report PROFITS AND POVERTY: THE ECONOMICS OF FORCED LABOR on the subject of forced labor.

Here are the highlights:

 - The ILO estimated that 20.9 million people globally are in forced labor, trafficked for labor
   and sexual exploitation, or held under slavery-like conditions

 - Forced labor in the private economy generated $150 billion in profits a year (two-third of the
   profits are generated from forced sexual exploitation)

 - 55% of those in forced labor are women and girls, primarily in commercial sexual
   exploitation and domestic work

 - 56% of those in forced labor are in the Asia-Pacific region

 26% (5.5 million) of those in forced labor are children under the age of 18 years old

 - 44% of those in forced labor are migrant workers either in their own country or in a foreign
   country, and had spent an average of 18 months in forced labor

What is forced labor in practice? The report paints a very bleak picture…

Indications of forced labor include:

 - Unfree and deceptive recruitment: victims are recruited through deception, are kept at work
   using threats of violence or abuse and are highly dependent on employers for purposes not
   related to work— e.g., food and housing

 - Coercive recruitment- using debt bondage and confiscation of documentation


By CRessence - Sammie Ho
CRessence was founded by Sammie Ho, a Hong Kong permanent resident, who has traveled around hundreds of factories from Far East to Middle East for almost a decade, to raise awareness of Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethical Consumption. Get to know more and offer your support by visiting

Image: Claudine Van Massenhove /



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