Forced labor generating $150 billion in profits yearly: report

[JURIST] The International Labor Organization (ILO) [advocacy website] issued a report [text; PDF] on Tuesday claiming that forced labor in the private economy generates $150 billion of profits worldwide every year. The figure is based on data published by ILO in 2012, estimating that 21 million people, more than half of them women and girls, are victims of forced private labor with two-thirds of all profits made from sexual exploitation. "The continued existence of forced labour is bad for its victims, for business and development," the report states. "It is a practice that has no place in modern society and should be eradicated as a matter of priority." Beate Andrees, the head of ILO's Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, has called for measures to protect vulnerable groups from forced labor, such as improving education and job skills and supporting the organization of workers.

In recent years forced labor has been a growing subject of international attention, with particular reference to human trafficking. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] issued a report [JURIST report] in April criticizing Qatar for failing to protect migrant workers from human rights abuses including forced labor. The ILO released a report [JURIST report] in February 2013 calling for greater efforts to end forced labor. In January 2013 China's Communist Party Politics and Law Committee head Meng Jianzhu [China Vitae backgrounder] claimed [JURIST report] the country planned to end its use of forced labor camps. In August 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] allowed [JURIST report] a prison forced labor suit from a Vermont man to go to district court.

 

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