Publication Labour / Unions - Globalization - War / Peace - Migration / Flight The Atlas of Enslavement

Facts and figures about forced labour and exploitation

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Series

Book

Publishers

Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung,

Published

December 2021

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We can put a stop to modern slavery, and prevent it in the future!

The word “slavery” conjures up images of people in chains being forced onto ships in Africa and transported across the globe. We rarely think of slavery as having anything to do with the modern world and its living and working conditions. Slavery has indeed been abolished as a legal form of labour worldwide. Article 4 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

But it would be wrong to assume that slavery no longer exists today. Indeed, in absolute numbers, more people are enslaved now than at any time in history. The International Labour Organization of the United Nations speaks of “modern slavery” and estimates that at least 40 million people are currently subject to it.

This atlas aims to raise awareness of this widely ignored phenomenon. We show that the persistence of this inhumane practice is a global problem. The 2020 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) concludes that people in no country in the world are immune from the crime of slavery. Based on the data collected for this Global Report, UNODC was able to document a total of 534 different routes used for human trafficking. More than 120 countries reported having detected trafficked persons from over 140 different countries of origin. In addition, national authorities probably do not recognize some routes, in part because many people are already enslaved while they are in their home countries.

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