More than three-quarters of a million slaves suffer in the Philippines


The Philippines has been named as having more than three-quarters of a million slaves — the tenth highest number globally.

Statistics from the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index shows that of the estimated 40 million people enslaved worldwide, 784,000 are in the Philippines.

The definition of modern slavery can include men forced to work in factories, farms and fishing boats and women forced to sell sex. It also includes people exploited for their organs and children sent to beg or forced to marry. 

According to the UN, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. For example, an Australian study we reported on in 2014 put the number of slaves in the Philippines as less than a third of the latest figure.

North Korea, Eritrea and Burundi are estimated to have the world’s highest proportion of slavery, with India, China and Pakistan home to the largest number of victims.

The UN has designated today (Monday, July 30) as World Day against Trafficking in Persons, as part of efforts to stamp out forced labour and modern slavery by 2030.

Facts and figures about modern slavery and human trafficking:

  • People can be trafficked for various forms of exploitation such as prostitution, forced labour, begging, crime, domestic servitude, forced and organ removal.
  • The face of human trafficking is changing, with more children and men falling prey, and more victims trapped in forced labour than a decade ago, according to the UN.
  • At least 40 million people are victims of modern slavery — with some 25 million trapped in forced labour and about 15 million in forced marriages.
  • Almost three-quarters are female and one in four a child. Modern-day slavery is most prevalent in Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific region.
  • North has the world’s highest rate of slavery, with about one in 10 people enslaved, followed by Eritrea (9.3%) Burundi (4%), Central African Republic (2.2%), Afghanistan (2.2%), Mauritania (2.1%), South Sudan (2%), Pakistan (1.7%), Cambodia (1.7%) and Iran (1.6%).
  • India is home to the largest number of slaves, with eight million. It isfollowed by China (3.86m), Pakistan (3.19m), North Korea (2.64m), Nigeria (1.39m), Iran (1.29m), Indonesia (1.22m), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1m), Russia (794,000) and the Philippines (784,000).
  • Human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion profit for and slavers every year.

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