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Unemployment and modern slavery rising globally

This past year more than 201 million people have been affected, which is 3.4 million more than in 2016.


    Teyuné Díaz Díaz


The analysis by the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that this trend will continue. It also highlighted that more than 1.4 billion employees are in vulnerable jobs, 780 million of which are residents in emerging and developing countries living in extreme or moderate poverty.

The ILO also highlighted an annual growth of 11 million workers in vulnerable jobs, who have less chance of finding secure employment with regular pay and access to social security.

Latin America

A regional study released this year by ILO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal) shows that along with low levels of economic growth in the region, working conditions also deteriorated.

The research conducted by these organisations specifies that the urban unemployment rate in this region rose by 0.5%, and could reach 9.4% by the end of the year, compared to 8.9% in 2016.

Both organisations insist that the weakness of the labour markets in the region is reflected in the job quality, though they recognised that actual salaries in formal employment increased in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uruguay, while they decreased in Mexico and Peru.

Stagnation with regards to the number of new jobs being created was reported in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, while there was more promising growth in Central America and Mexico.

With regard to young people, there are ongoing structural problems related to finding productive and decent work. Significant differences were revealed about young people that both study and work.

Among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19, there is a large proportion of young students that work to support their family income.

In the subgroups from ages 20 to 24 and 25 to 29, the majority are already fully immersed in the job market and study in higher education in order to advance their career.

The challenges

The ILT assures that in the current global climate, the job market is a priority for many countries due to slow economic progress, commercial constraints in global supply chains and concerns about both quantity and quality of employment.

Some analysts hypothesize that technological advances and innovation are an important driver of sustained growth and development of job quality, whereas others believe that they contribute to the destruction of certain jobs and risk affecting the means of production.

Along with rising unemployment at global level in 2017, modern slavery stands out as a major issue afflicting around 40 million people. Of this number, 25 million are victims of forced labour and 15 million are forced to marry without consent.

Of the 25 million people subjected to forced labour in 2016, around 16 million worked in the private sector, mainly in domestic work, construction, and farming.

Modern slavery is not the only form of exploitation for human beings, however; child labour is another common and inhumane practice.

The ILT confirms that 152 million children worldwide between the ages of 5 and 17 are subjected to child labour. The majority is concentrated in the farming industry, representing 70.9%, 17.1% in the service sector, and 11.9% in industry.

According to the ILT, 64 million of the children exploited are girls and 88 million are boys, a disheartening figure that represents one in every 10 children on the planet.

The eradication of slavery is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to eliminate child exploitation in all forms by 2025. (PL)

(Translated by Roz Harvey)Photos: Pixabay

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