What Is Forced Labor?

If you are new to seeing the world of human trafficking you might be wondering what forced labor is. 

Forced labor is a form of modern day slavery. The International Labor Organization defines it as, " situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities. "

Ultimately, forced labor is any work or service in which people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment.

Forced labor is typically found in industries with a lot of workers and little regulation. The top industries are agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, mining, quarrying, brick kilns, manufacturing, processing, packaging, and prostitution.

Globally, International Labor Organization estimates there are 14.2 million victims of forced labor, 26% of those are children.  

The vulnerable are targeted by labor traffickers. Migrant workers are targeted due to their  limited rights as well as typically not being able to speak the language. Areas suffering from poverty, lack of jobs, or lack of education are also common targets. 

Labor traffickers lure victims by offering high-paying jobs, education opportunities or opportunities for travel. Unfortunately, the reality is very different than what was promised. Victims frequently work long hours with little to no pay in terrible working conditions. 

Forced labor is a global problem that affects men, women and children. Now that you are aware of the problem don't ignore it, become an abolitionist. Spread awareness or volunteer to help with an anti-trafficking group in your area.