the issue

Slavery is illegal in nearly every country in the world.  It threatens the freedom of individuals, the legitimacy of free markets and free governance worldwide.  It is the sentinel human rights issue, that undermines every other human rights agenda, from environmental degradation to HIV/AIDS to conflict through child soldiers and funding terrorism. It is a stumbling block in the way of every major movement for economic freedom, social justice, and human rights. 

Expert journalist Ben Skinner believes that there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in history. Expert professor Kevin Bales claims that the price of a human life has never been cheaper, making human beings more vulnerable than ever before.  The former editor of Policy Magazine and Executive Director of the World Bank, Moises Naim, concludes that the selling of children is the fastest growing global crime.  

Statistics on this issue will never be absolute but nevertheless experts describe a disturbing picture that is real and quantifiable. Experts are also starting to agree that with today's technology we have the power and capability to end slavery today as never before in all of our history. 

Photo by Jeff Waldron

Photo by Jeff Waldron

Millions of people are trapped in slavery and they are making the very products that we all use every day. 

They are making our clothes, catching our fish, mining for minerals that go into our cell-phones and computers, farming our coffee, cotton, manufacturing in factories and trapped in brothels. The list is endless.

Photo by Jeff Waldron

Photo by Jeff Waldron

Today however, so are the solutions. Our ability to eradicate slavery has never been so within our reach.

Understanding how slavery taints and infects our supply chains of products enables all of us to take part in ending slavery. Bringing dignified work to all workers around the world reignites our consumer confidence and brings all of us legitimate freedom.

  • Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.

  • Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups.

  • Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.

  • Forced labor in the private economy generates US $150 billion in illegal profits per year.

  • Domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment are among the sectors most concerned.

  • Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labour.

*Source International Labor Organization