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Forced Labour Slavery

Over 28 million people worldwide are trapped in forced labour slavery - a form of modern slavery.

How many people are in forced labour slavery?

50 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021, according to the latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery. Of these people, 28 million were in forced labour and 22 million were trapped in forced marriage.

What is forced labour slavery?

Forced labour slavery uses deception, threats or violence to coerce someone to work for little to no pay. Although slavery has been outlawed in nearly every country, millions of men, women and children are working as slaves in brick kilns, rice mills, garment factories, fishing operations and many other industries.

What does forced labour slavery look like?

Forced labour slavery is a violent crime. Physical and sexual assault are rampant. In many cases, IJM has documented people trapped in forced labour who have been beaten, gang raped, locked in tiny rooms, starved and even killed.

Victims who try and escape commonly report being tracked down, beaten and returned to the facility. But many victims of slavery don’t try to run away because owners use fear and deception that traps them more strongly than physical locks and walls.

Suriya was trapped in forced labour slavery at only 10 years old.

Instead of the loving embrace of his mother, Suriya was beaten repeatedly with a stick. Instead of walking to school in the morning, he was forced to herd over 200 sheep alone for miles. He slept in an open field with nothing but a small towel to protect him from scorpions, snakes and the pouring rain.

“I accepted the fact that this was my reality now... that there was no way out,” Suriya told us. “I was scared to fall asleep because I was scared to dream.”

Watch Suriya's story >>

But this was not the end of Suriya’s story.

In partnership with a local organisation that works to stop forced labour, IJM helped find Suriya, bring him to safety and fight for justice against the man who exploited his family.

Today, Suriya is safe and no longer scared to dream. But millions of children are trapped in slavery, still waiting for freedom.

Donate today and help bring children like Suriya to freedom.

How does IJM stop forced labour slavery?

IJM combats forced labour slavery in Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Ghana, South Asia, and Thailand.

How does IJM work?

We Strengthen Justice Systems

We collaborate with justice system and community leaders to respond effectively to forced labour slavery and violence. Together, we design improvements that serve survivors, deter criminals and dramatically decrease slavery.

Bring Victims to Safety

We partner with local authorities to rescue individual victims of slavery and violence and restore survivors to safety and stability.
Over 76,000 people have been brought to safety with the help of IJM and partners.

Bring Criminals to Justice

We work alongside justice system officials to ensure that criminals are held accountable, stopping the cycle of slavery and violence and deterring others from abusing vulnerable people.

Scale Demand for Protection

We convene and equip champions to advocate for protection as an essential and tangible future for everyone.

Phase 1: Casework

IJM and our partners begin by pursuing justice in individual cases of slavery and violence, collaborating with local authorities to:

  • Investigate slavery and violence and relieve victims from abuse.
  • Hold criminals accountable for their crimes in court.
  • Serve survivors through aftercare programs and support them through the legal process.

Phase 2: Sustainable Protection

Building on our relationships with local officials and experience guiding cases through the justice system, IJM and our partners collaborate with local authorities to:

  • Strengthen their capacity to proactively identify slavery and violence and enforce laws.
  • Move cases through the legal process more efficiently and effectively.
  • Ensure justice systems and social services serve survivors of trauma with sensitivity and are shaped by survivors’ experiences.

Protect children like Suriya from modern day slavery today

Learn more abour forced labour slavery

The Facts
Understand The Issue
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How can I help?
You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery and violence in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.


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