ILO Report on Forced Labour Profits

Forced labour is a widespread issue that affects millions of people worldwide. According to a study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) released in Geneva, forced labour generates illegal profits worth $36 billion per year, a 37% increase since 2014. This rise in illegal profits is attributed to both the growth in the number of people forced into labour and higher profits generated from the exploitation of victims.

Key Findings

  • Criminals are generating $236 billion in illegal profits per year from forced labor in the private economy.
  • The number of illegal profits has dramatically risen by $64 billion (37%) since 2014.
  • Traffickers and criminals are generating close to $10,000 per victim, up from $8,269 a decade ago.
  • There were 27.6 million people engaged in forced labor on any given day in 2021.
  • Forced commercial sexual exploitation accounts for 73% of the total illegal profits.

Regional Breakdown of Illegal Profits

The report provides a regional breakdown of the total annual illegal profits from forced labor:

  • Europe and Central Asia: $84 billion
  • Asia and the Pacific: $62 billion
  • The Americas: $52 billion
  • Africa: $20 billion
  • Arab States: $18 billion

ILO Director-General’s Response

ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo expressed concern over the worsening situation, stating, “Forced labor perpetuates cycles of poverty and exploitation and strikes at the heart of human dignity. We now know that the situation has only got worse.” He urged the international community to take urgent action to end this injustice, safeguard workers’ rights, and uphold the principles of fairness and equality for all.


The study conducted surveys among workers, including Indians in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to gather data and insights into the issue of forced labour. The report covers the tally for 2021 and provides a comprehensive analysis of the economics of forced labour.

Impact on Victims

Forced labour has a devastating impact on the lives of its victims, perpetuating cycles of poverty and exploitation. The report highlights the urgent need for the international community to come together and take action to end this injustice and protect the rights of workers.

Important Facts for Exams

  • The ILO was founded in 1919 and is the oldest specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • The ILO has 187 member states and is dedicated to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights.
  • The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency, bringing together governments, employers, and workers representatives to shape policies and programmes promoting Decent Work for all.
  • The ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for its work in promoting peace and social justice.



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