The research found that nine million people lived under modern slavery more than five years ago

New Australian-led research shows that around 50 million people globally live under modern slavery, including an increasing number of women in forced marriage.
A study, led by the charity Walk Free, found that widespread social and economic instability linked to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to increased poverty and forced migration.

It is estimated that 28 million people are in forced labor and 22 million are trapped in forced marriages.

A report by Walk Free, the United Nations International Labor Organization and the International Organization for Migration found that the number of people in modern slavery has risen by more than nine million over the past five years.
“Modern slavery is the antithesis of sustainable development. However, in 2022, it continues to underpin our global economy,” said Grace Forrest, founding director of Walk Free, on Monday.
“It is a man-made problem, linked to historical slavery and persistent structural inequality.
“At a time of deepening crises, real political will is the key to ending these human rights abuses,” Ms Forrest said.

The researchers found that migrant workers were three times more likely than others to be drawn into forced labor.

The report found that 22 million people are trapped in forced marriage, and in some countries girls are forced into early marriage. source: AAP / Devacant Solanki.

It is estimated that the number of people living in forced marriage has increased by nearly seven million in the past five years.

However, the true figure is likely to be much larger given the difficulties associated with recording child marriage in the data.
Forced marriage is illegal under Australian law, including when people are taken abroad for marriage.

But the report noted that criminalization could push the practice underground and divert attention from a more comprehensive response, including prevention measures.

The report noted that research conducted in the United Kingdom indicates that criminalization “can make victims more afraid to speak out, especially if it can lead to the imprisonment of their family members”.
Australia’s modern slavery laws require companies to ensure that slavery does not occur in their domestic or global operations or supply chains.

Modern slavery legislation is being reviewed by Australian National University Professor John Macmillan.

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