European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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News | Forced labour in the EU

According to new and unique ILO estimates on forced labour and human trafficking in the European Union, 880,000 people are in forced labour in the EU Member states, which statistically equals 1.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants.
  • Out of the 880,000 forced labourers, 30% are estimated to be victims of forced sexual exploitation and 70% of forced labour exploitation.
  • Women constitute the clear majority of victims (58%).
  • EU citizens were involved in the majority of cases of forced labour exploitation reported in EU Member states. Other victims came from Asia, Africa and Central and South-Eastern Europe.
  • Victims of forced sexual exploitation came primarily from the EU, Central and South-Eastern Europe, Africa, and to a lesser extent Latin America and Asia.
  • Adults and children can also be forced into illicit or informal economic activities, including begging.
  • Central & South Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States is the region with the highest prevalence of forced labour per 1,000 inhabitants globally (4.2/1,000 inhabitants). 13 out of 19 countries of this region are at the EU’s doorstep.
“Our analysis of cases clearly shows that agriculture, domestic work, manufacturing and construction are the main sectors where forced labour was found in the EU. Victims are lured with false job offers only to find out that conditions of work are worse than they anticipated. Many of them are in an irregular situation and have very limited bargaining power”, says the head of the ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, Beate Andrees.


Factsheet "EU forced labour in figures"

Factsheet on forced labour in EU member states

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