Human Trafficking and Forced Labour

According to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Global Estimate of Forced Labour 2012.

  • 20.9 million persons are engaged in forced labour, which includes human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation.
  • 68% or 14.2 million are victims of forced labour exploitation in economic activities like agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing.
  • 22% or 4.6 million are victims of sexual slavery. Of these, 21% or approximately 1 million victims are children.
  • 10% or 2.2 million individuals are in state-imposed forms of forced labour.
Forced Labour and Gender
  • 55% or 11.5 million victims are female, while 45% or 9.5 million are male
Cross-Border Migration
  • 29% or 6 million left their country of origin to work in another country where the forced labour took place. Cross-border movement is strongly associated with forced sexual slavery. (According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is not known how many of these victims are trafficked (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012).
Regional Statistics
  • The Asia-Pacific region has the highest absolute number of forced labourers with 56% or 11.7 million victims.
  • 3% or 600,000 victims are in the Middle East.
  • On average, individuals spend 18 months in forced labour, though this varies depending on form and region.

According to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, 2012

  • 27% of all victims detected globally are children. Of every 3 child survivors, 2 are girls and 1 is a boy.
  • Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58% of all trafficking cases detected globally, while trafficking for forced labour accounts for 36%.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, almost half of victims detected worldwide were trafficked across borders within their region of origin.  Some 24% were trafficked interregionally.
  • The trafficking flow from East Asia remains the most prominent transnational flow globally.  East Asian victims were detected in large numbers in many countries worldwide.

The Costs

The “opportunity cost” of coercion now reaches over US$20 billion in terms of lost earnings to workers. (ILO 2009 the Cost of Coercion)


Domestic Violence

Helpful Links

ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour 2012: Results and Methodology

TIP Report, US Department of State, 2012

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2012.