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UN: 50M People Worldwide Stuck in ‘Modern Slavery’

Facts

  • Economic uncertainty caused by COVID, armed conflict and the climate crisis have pushed millions into modern slavery, according to a new report published by the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO), the Walk Free Foundation, and the International Organization for Migration on Monday.[1]
  • The UN estimates 50M people worldwide are victims of forced marriage and labor, up 23% from the last estimate in 2016. Modern slavery refers to people who cannot refuse or leave because of "threats, violence, deception, abuse of power or other forms of coercion."[2]

Sources

Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

These shocking revelations may finally prompt action on the appalling human rights situation in places like China, where more than 1M Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have allegedly been detained. Since China ratified the ILO Forced Labour Convention last month, there is new hope that the West will begin a difficult dialogue on such human rights violations.

Establishment-critical narrative

We don't need to look overseas to find human rights abuses that need addressing, given that more than half of all forced labor and a quarter of forced marriages occur outside of the global south. Trade unions, employers' organizations, and ordinary people must take action to force better regulation and strengthened employment laws.