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Slavery on the increase

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Close to 30 million people around the world are enslaved, according to the International Labor Organisation. Photo: Unsplash.com
Close to 30 million people around the world are enslaved, according to the International Labor Organisation. Photo: Unsplash.com

Forced labour in the private economy has grown by 2.7 million more people worldwide in the last five years, according to new findings from the UN’s International Labour Organisation.

The ILO’s Global Estimates of Modern Slavery reported nearly 50 million people are modern slaves today, 27.6 million of whom are in forced labour and 22 million in forced marriages.

The prevalence of forced labour has also increased, alongside the raw number, from 3.4 to 3.5 per thousand people in the world.

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Women and girls make up 11.8 million of the total in forced labour, and 3.3 million are children.

Asia and the Pacific is host to more than half of the global total of forced labour.

The Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network (ACAN) has in the last three years grown to 50 entities, including the National Catholic Education Commission and Catholic Health Australia.

“By harnessing this collective purchasing power Catholic entities can procure with purpose – human dignity and freedom.”

“The Global Estimates have confirmed what we already knew – that the number of people in modern slavery has increased – and more needs to be done urgently by all sectors, especially business,” said John McCarthy KC, Chair of the Sydney Archdiocesan Anti-slavery Taskforce which coordinates and supports ACAN.

“With over $8 billion of goods and services being purchased by Catholic organisations the Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network is more important than ever,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

“By harnessing this collective purchasing power Catholic entities can procure with purpose – human dignity and freedom.

“Recommendations in the Global Estimates focus on issues that are absolutely aligned with Catholic Social Teaching – dignity of the person and dignity in work.

“The challenge now is to permanently embed policy, procedures and practices in our organisations that reflect our Catholic beliefs and values as well as comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2018.”

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