A former victim of human trafficking in Indonesia. Photo: Muse Mohammed/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Aligning Efforts to End Modern Slavery

By the International Labour Organization, the Walk Free Foundation, and the International Organization for Migration

While many think slavery was a phenomenon of the past, it is a scourge of humanity that unfortunately is still very much prevalent around the world today. Criminals all over the world continue to find new ways to exploit the vulnerable, undermine their human rights and extract their labour by force. Whether this takes the form of the sexual enslavement of women during conflict or the recruitment and trafficking of men forced to labour on fishing vessels, millions of our fellow human beings are victims of these human rights violations.

On 19 September, Alliance 8.7, the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, will bring together key partners representing governments, United Nations (UN) organizations, the private sector, workers’ organizations and civil society to launch new global estimates of modern slavery and child labour.

The global estimates have been developed by Alliance 8.7 members with long-standing expertise and investments on statistics, and will be released as two reports with accompanying methodologies. The global estimates of modern slavery were developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The global estimates of child labour were developed by the ILO.

Drawing on in-depth responses from thousands of face-to-face interviews conducted jointly by the ILO and Walk Free Foundation in over 50 countries, combined with comprehensive data sets about the experiences of victims of human trafficking from the IOM, the global estimates of modern slavery will provide valuable insight into the numbers behind modern slavery with specific information regarding region, group and gender.

Accurate and reliable data is a vital tool in tackling complex social challenges like modern slavery and child labour. These estimates will not only raise international awareness about these violations, but will also provide a sound basis for policymakers around the world to make strategic decisions and enable development partners to address funding gaps.

To date, global estimates have proven to be crucial vehicles for raising the profile of otherwise hidden issues, and accelerating the renewed efforts to eliminate the violations of international human rights. This was shown in the inclusion of Target 8.7 in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which calls on the international community to:

“Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.

Upon hearing this call, in September 2016, the international community launched Alliance 8.7, a global strategic partnership committed to achieving SDG 8.7. The aim of Alliance 8.7 is to accelerate action, facilitate knowledge sharing, drive innovation and leverage resources. The development of global estimates will be a significant milestone in this international fight against modern slavery.