The scale of the issue

Human trafficking and modern slavery are happening in every corner of the globe

Given the hidden nature of human trafficking, it is almost impossible to understand the full scope and scale of the issue.

Amongst the most trusted sources for understanding the global situation is the research by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the latest report on forced labour by the ILO:


An estimated 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery.

Of these:

  • 14.2 million (68%) were exploited for labor
  • 4.5 million (22%) were sexually exploited
  • 2.2 million (10%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor


Human trafficking and modern slavery do not discriminate; they affect men and women of all ages.

By Gender



55% of trafficking victims around the world are women and girls and 45% are men and boys

By Age




15.4 million victims (74%) are aged 18 or older, with the number of children under the age of 18 estimated at 5.5 million (26%)

Domestic vs International Trafficking

Human trafficking does not always involve travel to the destination of exploitation.


9.1 million victims of forced labor (44%) are moved either internally or internationally. The majority, 11.8 million (56%), are subjected to forced labour within their place of origin

By Industry

Forced labor takes place in many different industries. Of the 14.2 million trafficking victims exploited for labour:



While every industry is susceptible, those highlighted in the report are broken down as follows:

  • 7.1 million (50%) forced labour victims work in construction, manufacturing, mining, or utilities
  • 3.4 million (24%) forced labour victims are domestic workers
  • 3.5 million (25%) forced labour victims work in agriculture

Understanding the global picture

Learn more about how STOP THE TRAFFIK is building a global picture of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Learn More

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