“Modern slavery” is an umbrella term covering various forms of coercion into labour situations. This includes such crimes as human trafficking for forced labour, forced commercial sexual exploitation, and indentured labour. A typical typology of modern slavery involves a lack of consent, with victims unable to refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception and/or abuse of power.

How does it impact business?

The statistics

  • 1

    Over 50 million in modern slavery

  • 2

    16 million victims in supply chains

  • 3

    Over 60% of victims are in Asia

  • 4

    260 billion USD annual profits

  • 5

    Only 0.2% helped each year

Forms of modern slavery


16 million people are affected by privately imposed forced labour, with the majority being women. Half of these people are in debt bondage. Privately imposed forced labour can be found in agriculture, domestic work, manufacturing, construction, and several other sectors.


This includes forced sexual exploitation of adults, imposed by private agents for commercial purposes, and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children. It encompasses the use, procurement, or offering of children for prostitution or pornography. Most victims of sexual exploitation are women and girls.


One in four victims of modern slavery are children. Forced labour of children is defined as work performed by a child under coercion applied by a third party (other than his or her parents) either to the child or to the child’s parents, or work performed by a child as a direct consequence of his or her parent or parents being engaged in forced labour. The coercion may take place during the child’s recruitment or once the child is working.


This includes citizens recruited by their state authorities to participate in agriculture or construction work for purposes of economic development, young military conscripts forced to perform work that are not of military nature, and those forced to perform communal services that are not decided upon at the community level.


This refers to situations where persons, regardless of their age, have been forced to marry without their consent. A person might be forced to marry through physical, emotional, or financial duress, deception or the use of force or threats. They then endure a situation that involves losing their sexual autonomy, and it often involves providing labour under the guise of “marriage”. Most victims are women and girls.