New York, 19 September 2017 – New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world. The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. The ILO have also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour.
I first started working in the anti- slavery space on a counter trafficking programme in Timor-Leste. We were implementing a programme that looked very similar to counter trafficking programming around the world , which included providing technical advice to the government to develop counter trafficking legislation and a national action plan, support to NGOs to improve delivery of services, and training for police to better investigate crimes. One of my roles was tracking our impact, and while we were successful in achieving all our outputs, the answer to the question of whether we had reduced trafficking remained somewhat elusive.
Working on the Walk Free Foundation’s government response database is a fascinating, thought-provoking, and troubling experience. As a researcher going from knowing relatively little about the global situation of modern day slavery to spending several months conducting detailed research into the topic, I was exposed to just how extensive this global problem is, and how useful the work conducted by the Walk Free Foundation is in combating modern slavery.
By Stella Freitag
Last week, we had the pleasure of having Professor Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, one of the world-leading marine biology experts, present to Walkfree Foundation as part of a visit to the University of Western Australia where an Indian Ocean node of his Sea Around Us project is being established.