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Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor--International Labor Organization, 2014


Fact Sheet
Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 20, 2014

   
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According to the ILO’s research focused on several countries in different regions, various factors contribute to individuals being vulnerable to forced labor including:

  • living in poverty
  • working in unskilled occupations or informal work sectors
  • lacking educational opportunities or literacy
  • needing to migrate

The latest report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) was released in May 2014, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor, and estimates the illegal profits made from the use of forced labor in the private economy worldwide amount to $150.2 billion per year.

According to the ILO, two thirds of the profits, amounting to an estimated $99 billion per year, are generated by commercial sexual exploitation exacted by fraud or force. More than one third of the profits – $51.2 billion – are made from forced labor exploitation, including:

  • Nearly $8 billion generated in domestic work;
  • $9 billion generated in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; and
  • $34 billion generated in other industries such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and utilities.

Perpetrators make roughly $21,800 per year per victim of commercial sexual exploitation exacted by fraud or force, and an average of $4,000 per victim of forced labor exploitation outside of domestic work.

Overall, the profits are estimated to be highest in Asia ($51.8 billion), due mainly to the high number of victims in that region, and in developed economies and the European Union ($46.9 billion), owing to the high profit generated per victim in developed economies.

“Put into perspective, the 21 million victims in forced labor and the more than US$150 billion in illegal profits generated by their work exceeds the population and GDP of many countries or territories around the world.”

International Labor Organization, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor (2014), p. 54.

Date: 2014 Description: Annual profits of forced labour per region (U.S. $ billion): Asia-Pacific=51.8; Developed Economies and EU=46.9; Central and South-Eastern Europe and CIS=18.0; Africa=13.1; Latin America and the Caribbean=12.0; Middle East=8.5. - State Dept Image

Source: International Labor Organization, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor (2014), p. 14.



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