Living in Chains

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Nearly 50 million people around the world were living in some form of slavery last year, according to a recent United Nations study which highlighted how the problem has been growing in recent years, The Hill reported.

The new report found that in 2021, roughly 28 million people were in forced labor while almost 22 million were part of forced marriages. The figures translate to about one person for every 150 people worldwide and mark an increase of 10 million over 2016.

Researchers said about one-third of people in forced labor were engaged in the trade, transport or hospitality sectors. The individuals are coerced into slavery because of debt, threats or withheld wages.

The numbers also include more than three million children, with more than half being sexually exploited.

In terms of forced marriage, nearly 15 million were girls and women, half of whom were coerced into marriage by verbal or physical abuse.

The findings showed that the Asian-Pacific region was the largest contributor to forced labor and one of the highest ranking concerning forced marriages.

According to the UN, the percentage has risen in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has aggravated economic and social issues while also expanding the potential for exploitation.

It added that much of modern slavery revolves around migration and the exploitation of migrant workers – about 15 percent of all people in forced labor were migrants, according to the report.

Migration is certain to increase as climate change causes major disruptions throughout the world and forces people to leave their homes.

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