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 40.3 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery.

Of these:

  • 24.9 million were exploited for labour.
  • 15.4 million were in forced marriage.

There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.


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

By Gender

71% of trafficking victims around the world are women and girls and 29% are men and boys. 

By Age

30.2 million victims (75%) are aged 18 or older, with the number of children under the age of 18 estimated at 10.1 million (25%).

  • 37% victims of trafficking in forced marriage were children.
  • 21% victims of sexual exploitation were children. 

By Industry

Forced labour takes place in many different industries.

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

  • 16 million (64%) forced labour victims work in domestic work, construction or agriculture.
  • 4.8 million (19%) persons in forced sexual exploitation.
  • 4 million (16%) persons in forced labour imposed by state authorities.


Debt Bondage

Debt bondage affected half of all victims of forced labour imposed by private actors. Debt bondage is used as a method of control and prevents trafficking victims from escaping.


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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