Thursday, May 25, 2006

ILO: ‘Slavery persists for 12 million worldwide’

The ILO estimated in a report last year that 12.3 million people were subject to forced labor.
“For us that’s contemporary slavery”, Patrick Belser, an ILO expert explained.

The ILO said in the report that globalization was helping to fuel forced labor, especially in Europe.
Slavery was outlawed by an international convention in 1926 and technically it cannot exist today because no one can invoke a right of ownership over another human being. Forced labor was defined in a 1930 treaty as any form of involuntary work imposed under the threat of a sanction. It is predominantly found in Asia, where 9.5 million people are thought to be engaged in forced labor, according to the ILO.

The bulk of them are peasants in India and Pakistan who live in virtual serfdom as bonded labor.
They are condemned to a life of misery because they are forced to give half of their crop to their landowner, while their children are often obliged to work to pay back debts, according to the ILO.


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