Modern slavery is the very antithesis of social justice and sustainable development. The 2021 Global Estimates indicate there are 50 million people in situations of modern slavery on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. This number translates to nearly one of every 150 people in the world. The estimates also indicate that situations of modern slavery are by no means transient – entrapment in forced labour can last years, while in most cases forced marriage is a life sentence. And sadly, the situation is not improving. The 2021 Global Estimates show that millions more men, women, and children have been forced to work or marry in the period since the previous estimates were released in 2017.
The global and regional estimates presented in this report were developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Walk Free, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The estimates are based on a jointly developed methodology: as was the case for the 2016 global estimates, the 2021 calculations are derived from multiple data sources, as no single source was sufficiently reliable. The principal sources are data from nationally representative household surveys – 68 forced labour surveys and 75 forced marriage surveys – jointly conducted by ILO and Walk Free, as well as the Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC) anonymized case dataset on victims of trafficking collected by IOM and its partners in the process of providing protection and assistance services to trafficked persons.