How Many People around the World Are Enslaved?

It is estimated that 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. That is about 0.3% of the world's population, or the equivalent of the population of Texas. There is no definitive method of tracking the number of people engaged in forced labor, so the exact number is not known. "Enslaved" tends to be an umbrella term that refers to a person being forced to perform a job to which he or she did not consent and from which he or she is unable to escape. This occurs globally but is thought to be most prevalent in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. The majority of forced labor tends to be for individuals or private enterprises, such as hereditary collateral-debt bondage. This is when a person is used as a means of paying back a debt. Other types of enslavement include government-forced labor prison camps and sex trafficking, in which people are forced into prostitution.

More about forced labor:

  • The first anti-slavery movement in the modern era was started in 1787 by Anti-Slavery International in London to promote the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

  • In 2012, slave labor and its output accounted for an estimated $30 billion US Dollars (USD) to $45 billion USD of the global economy — the smallest-ever percentage of the global economy.

  • An estimated 26% of all enslaved people worldwide are younger than 18 years old.
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Discussion Comments


Why? Why do we continue to do this to each other? Why?


How ironic is it, that the country that first sent slaves to the states is still a world leader in keeping slavery an ongoing concern?

If you want to end it, get over what happened in the past and focus on what's still happening now.

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