Illegal Profits Rise

Economics of forced labour

In a March 2024 document, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has reported a 37% rise in illegal profits from forced labour since 2014. Forced labour profits in the private sector are now estimated to be US$236billion. The report indicates there were 27.6 million people in forced labour on any day in 2021 compared with 24.9 million people in 2016. More than half of these people were in the Asia Pacific Region. Sources of illegal profits include underpayment of wages and the unlawful recruitment fees and related costs that forced labour victims must frequently bear.

The report suggests that in addition to law enforcement measures a broad-based approach is needed, with a strong emphasis on addressing root causes and the protection of victims. Efforts in social protection, education, skills training and good migration governance are all critical. The Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention and the Forced Labour (Supplementary Measures) Recommendation, 2014 (No. 203) provides a strategic framework for comprehensive action against forced labour.

For more information download a copy of Profits and Poverty: the Economics of Forced Labor here.

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