The pandemic has dramatically exacerbated modern slavery across every region of the world due to a double whammy of disrupted law enforcement and mass unemployment, a report has warned.
In a 50-page paper seen by the Telegraph, experts including the United Nations’ special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery paint a stark picture.
Over the last 18 months, millions of more people have become vulnerable to exploitation and forced labour after losing work in the pandemic’s financial fallout. According to estimates from the International Labour Organization, 255 million full-time jobs were lost in 2020, while 1.6 billion workers in the informal sector have been left without work.
This has left people in a precarious position, with “no choice but to accept any job in order to survive”, says the report – published by the Minority Rights Group, Keele University and the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre.
But, at the same time, initiatives to combat modern slavery have taken a hit globally, including in Canada, Spain, Bolivia, Nepal, Mexico and Australia. This has left the world less able to combat exploitation when rates are surging and services are needed most.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated modern slavery in all regions of the world,” Tomoya Obokata, the UN special rapporteur and a professor of international law and human rights at Keele University, told The Telegraph.
“Anti-slavery actions have been delayed or slowed down during a pandemic, many countries have shifted the resources from anti-slavery efforts to fight the pandemic.
The original full article can be found at telegraph.co.uk