FACTBOX-One in 185 a slave: snapshot of today's trade in humans

by Molly Millar | @mollyamillar | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 18 October 2019 02:01 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Evening commuters are seen in central London March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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Human trafficking is one of the world's fastest growing criminal enterprises

By Molly Millar

LONDON, Oct 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tens of millions of people are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery - more than ever before - as poverty, conflict and climate change fuel a growing global trade in people.

Victims are trafficked for profit and coerced into all manner of work, be it prostitution, forced labour, begging, crime, domestic servitude, forced marriage or organ mining.

Human trafficking is one of the world's fastest growing criminal enterprises, according to the United Nations, which has set a goal of ending forced labour and modern slavery by 2030.

Hard and reliable statistics are hard to come by when it comes to the illicit market in people, but here are eight key facts and figures collated by international organisations as the European Union (EU) marks Anti-Trafficking Day on Oct. 18.

* At least 40.3 million people worldwide are modern slaves. About 20 million are forced to work, across farms, factories and fishing boats, 15.4 million are made to wed and nearly 5 million are trapped in the sex trade.

* Women and girls account for seven in 10 victims of modern slavery. A quarter of all victims are children.

* Globally, one in 185 people is a victim of modern slavery.

* North Korea has the world's highest rate of modern slavery - with about one in 10 enslaved - followed by Eritrea (9.3%) Burundi (4%), Central African Republic (2.2%) and Afghanistan (2.2%).

* India is home to the largest number of modern slaves - with 8 million - followed by China (3.86 million), Pakistan (3.19 million), North Korea (2.64 million) and Nigeria (1.39 million).

* The crime is estimated to generate illegal profits of at least $150 billion a year for human traffickers.

* Modern slavery is prevalent in developed countries as well as developing nations – an estimated 136,000 people are enslaved across Britain and 403,000 in the United States.

* As of the start of 2019, 47 countries had not criminalised human trafficking, 96 nations had not criminalised forced labour, and 133 had not criminalised forced marriage. Sources: International Labour Organization, Walk Free Foundation (Reporting by Molly Millar, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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