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Forced labor generates US$150 billion profit per year: ILO

The estimated amount for total illegal profits obtained from the use of forced labor in Africa is US$13.10 billion per year

Forced labor in the private economy generates $ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO).

“This new report takes our understanding of trafficking, forced labor and modern slavery to a new level,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The ILO report ,Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor, said two thirds of the estimated total of $150 billion, or $99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another $51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.

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According to the report,  in Africa, the estimated amount of total illegal profits obtained from the use of forced labor  is US$ 13.10 billion per year.

According to these estimates for the region, the annual profits from forced sexual exploitation US$8.9 billion per year while the average annual profits of forced domestic work are US$300 million per year.

The African region accounts the second highest number of forced laborers at 3.7 million (18 per cent) and the estimated number of victims by type of forced labor includes forced sexual exploitation (800,000), forced labor exploitation (2,500,000) and state-imposed forced labor (400,000).

Annual profit per victim is highest in the Developed Economies (US$34,800 per victim), followed by countries in the Middle East (US$15,000 per victim), and lowest in the Asia-Pacific region (US$5,000 per victim) and in Africa (US$3,900 per victim).

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The prevalence rate (number of victims per thousand inhabitants) is highest in the CSEE and Africa regions at 4.2 and 4.0, respectively.

Profits from forced labor

People in forced labor are often caught in a vicious cycle that condemns them to endless poverty.

In Africa, the number of victims of labor exploitation in the private economy is: Agriculture, including forestry and fishing: 1,130,000; Construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities: 840,000; and Domestic work: 570,000.

The traditional forms of “vestiges of slavery” are still prevalent in some countries, leading to situations where whole families (adults and children, men and women) are forced to work the fields of landowners in exchange for food and housing.

The report highlights income shocks and poverty as the main economic factors that push individuals into forced labor. Other factors contributing to risk and vulnerability include lack of education, illiteracy, gender and migration.

Cover  Photo: Reuters


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