This month Relentless will be focusing on the issue of labour trafficking. Forced labour and labour exploitation are other terms that describe slavery that happens TODAY in YOUR country in 2017.

Throughout the month I’ll be highlighting various aspects of labour trafficking such as risk factors and vulnerabilities, targeting certain industries (e.g. fishing in SE Asia), and some promising practices. The goal is to raise your awareness as a global citizen to be an enlightened consumer if not to make you an abolitionist. Here I’ll briefly highlight some basic statistics and give some general direction for where you may begin your own education. There is an amazing amount of material available on this topic for you to learn about the subtopics that interest you the most, whether it is a geographical region, a particular industry, or people group.


Three key features of human trafficking:

  • movement or confinement of an individual removing personal agency,
  • with coercion and exploitation,
  • for financial profit or gain of another

 It is important to remember that an individual need not leave his/her home town to be trafficked.


 Forms of labour trafficking include forced labour, debt bondage, and child labour.

A few points from the International Labour Organization (ILO):

  • Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.
  • Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups.
  • Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
  • Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
  • Domestic work, agriculture [fishing], construction, manufacturing and entertainment are among the sectors most concerned.
  • Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labour.

 Here is a brief video from the ILO that explains forced labour.


Human Trafficking Center has some great definitions and clear infographics to help you grasp this problem.  

The 2016 TIP Report from the 2016 U. S. Department of State provides a wide variety of information about trafficking in general as well as profiles each country on its efforts to combat human trafficking.

The Global Slavery Index (2016) also profiles countries and estimates that 48.5 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.

“I want to tell consumers that the seafood you are eating comes from our suffering and such heavy work. I want to tell them about the challenges we faced to land those fish. Each was caught with forced labour and abuse. When you eat fish, please think about us. Catching it was hard – not convenient like it is for consumers who buy the fish to eat.” – trafficked fisherman from SE Asia