Saturday, June 7, 2014

Forced labour generates US$ 150 billion profit annually-ILO

…21 million people involved

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has alerted that forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
According to a new report from the ILO, this figure represents about three times more than previously estimated. 
The ILO report, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, said two thirds of the estimated total of US$ 150 billion, or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.

“This new report takes our understanding of trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery to a new level,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Forced labour is bad for business and development and especially for its victims. Our new report adds new urgency to our efforts to eradicate this fundamentally evil, but hugely profitable practice as soon as possible.”
The new figure is based on ILO data published in 2012, which looked at the cost and profits from forced labour and human trafficking and estimated the number of people in forced labour, trafficking and modern slavery at 21 million. 
Significantly, the new estimate indicates that more than half of the people in forced labour are women and girls, primarily in commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work, while men and boys were primarily in forced economic exploitation in agriculture, construction, and mining.
The breakdown of profits generated by forced economic exploitation showed that US$ 34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities; US$ 9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing and US$ 8 billion saved by private households by not paying or underpaying domestic workers held in forced labour. 
Ryder said the new estimates show that progress is being made as State-imposed forced labour is declining in importance, but noted that it calls for more attention to prevent such type of exploitation from resurging.
He stated, “In order to move forward in this fight, we need to look at the socio-economic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour.
“We need to understand the role of supply and demand, and how some unscrupulous employers can still reap huge profits by underpaying, or not paying workers at all.
We need to improve levels of education and literacy so that household decision-makers can understand their own vulnerability to forced labour and know their rights as workers.“ 
The ILO Director General also stressed the need to work with governments to strengthen law, policy and enforcement , while the employers strengthen their due diligence against forced labour in their own activities—including their supply chains—that creates an environment of unfair competition.
In addition the global body likewise said it would collaborate with trade unions to represent and to empower those who are at risk. 
“The continued existence of forced labour is bad for its victims, for business and for development. It is a practice that has no place in modern society. And it’s time that we act together, to eradicate this hugely profitable, but fundamentally evil source of shame once and for all“; he stated.

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