New Global Estimates on Modern Slavery and Child Labor Released

New Global Estimates on Modern Slavery and Child Labor Released

Alliance 8.7, a global strategic partnership committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, has released two new reports containing up-to-date estimates on the prevalence of modern slavery and child labor around the world. The reports help companies better understand the realities of these issues in the global economy, thereby allowing them to tailor their risk mitigation and due diligence activities accordingly.

The two reports were developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and in consultation with other UN partner agencies, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). This adds to the groundswell of international support to end forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labor by 2030, as demonstrated when 37 United Nations (UN) Member States endorsed a call to action on the topic during a meeting at the (UN) General Assembly in September of this year.

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Key Insights from the Reports

The new publications provide readers with a number of up-to-date insights and statistics on trafficking and slavery, including the following:

  1. Approximately 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery
    1. 71 percent of modern slavery victims are women
    2. While there are an estimated 25 million victims of modern slavery in Asia and the Pacific, the issue is most prevalent in Africa, where there are 7.6 victims for every 1,000 people in the region
  2. 151.6 million children between the ages of five and 17 are victims of child labor
    1. 72.5 million of these children are performing hazardous work
    2. An estimated one in five children in Africa is involved in child labor
  3. There are some 16 million victims of forced labor in the private economy
    1. Debt bondage imposed by the private sector is a reality for half of these victims
  4. Although the number of child labor cases since 2012 has decreased overall, the prevalence of child labor in the private economy has shown little change

In addition to offering important insights into the scale, causes and effects of modern slavery and child labor globally, the report highlights the important role played by the business community in eradicating these practices in supply chains. This is largely because the majority of forced labor takes place in the private sector. With these new statistics at hand, governments, companies and civil society organizations can attract increased attention to these issues and consider innovative approaches to addressing them.

Implications for Companies

The estimates on modern slavery and child labor tell us these issues continue to present a global challenge — one the private sector is actively contributing to. For companies working to eradicate modern slavery and child labor in their supply chains, these estimates offer insights into the most challenging aspects of this task. In doing so, the reports help companies identify where they should be focusing their attention in relation to supply chain due diligence and risk mitigation.

Assent’s Human Rights Module helps companies manage risk in their supply chain related to various manifestations of human trafficking and slavery. The Module works in tandem with industry-standard supply chain data collection tools such as the Slavery & Trafficking Risk Template (STRT), which, when combined, enable companies to effectively assess, mitigate and manage human rights risk in supply chains.

To learn more about the Module, click here or contact our regulatory compliance team at For details on the STRT’s capabilities, visit