In the news: Global Estimates

New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world. The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2017, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016.

The majority of victims, more than 60%, are in the Asia-Pacific region. With 25 million people in forced labour, and over 50% subject to debt bondage imposed by private actors, this has serious implications for global businesses.


The ILO have also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour. Child labour remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9%). Almost 1 in 5 child labourers work in the services sector (17.1%) while 11.9% of child labourers work in industry.

The new global estimates are a collective effort from members of Alliance 8.7, the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour that brings together key partners representing governments, UN organisations, the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.  The 2017 Global Estimates and reports can be found online here.

In 2018, the Walk Free Foundation will be publishing an updated Global Slavery Index. This will include country by country estimates of prevalence of modern slavery more than 160 countries, alongside information about vulnerability and strength of government responses.