New UN report finds 40 million slaves across the globe

The International Labor Organization (ILO), part of the United Nations estimates that more than 25 million people are in forced labor and 15 million people are in sexual slavery.  The report, called the 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery notes that it is "impossible to know exactly how many people are living in modern slavery, and different studies have produced different estimates."

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According to the report, women and girls accounted for 71 percent of slavery victims, including 99 percent of those in the commercial sex industry and 84 percent of victims of forced marriages.  Children made up around 37 percent of those forced to marry, as well as 18 percent of forced labor victims and 21 percent of victims of sexual exploitation. An estimated 4.1 million people are victims of forced labor imposed by authoritarian governments.

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The report found that modern slavery was most prevalent in Africa (7.6 victims per 1,000 people), followed by Asia and the Pacific (6.1 per 1,000).  Forced labor was most prevalent in the Asia and the Pacific region, (4 victims per 1,000 people), and forced marriage was most prevalent in Africa (4.8 per 1,000), followed by Asia and the Pacific (2 per 1,000). The report warns that these regional figures should be interpreted with caution, because of a lack of available data in some regions, notably the Arab States and the Americas.

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The report identified forced labor in all kinds of industries.  In the cases where the type of work was known, 24 percent of adults were domestic workers, 18 percent were in construction, 15 percent in manufacturing, and 11 percent in agriculture and fishing.

An estimated 3.8 million adults were victims of forced sexual exploitation and 1 million children were victims of sexual exploitation.  A recent CNN documentary focused on one American metropolitan area -- Atlanta -- and found that the illegal sex industry there generates around $290 million a year.