New data released this week estimate that 40.3 million people were in modern slavery in 2016. The International Labour Office (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation revealed their joint figures at the United Nations, as reported in this Washington Post
article. However, despite more extensive research, gaps remain, making it hard to determine the exact numbers in modern slavery today.
“The authors of the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery study admit there are gaps in the available information: Although extensive United Nations data has been used in the study, some countries and sub-national regions are missing.”
Fiona David from Walk Free Foundation said, “It’s difficult or even impossible to do research in areas of high conflict.” In fact, David explained, Syria and northern Nigeria are not even included in the study, so the 40.3 estimate is probably in reality too low.
These new estimates bring together previously disparate numbers published by the Walk Free Foundation, through their Global Slavery Index, and the ILO, the UN agency that sets labor standards and works to end forced labor.