05/22/2014, 00.00
ASIA
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Asia's 11 million "new slaves" a boost to economic growth

The findings are in a report by the International Labour Organisation. Exploited workers generate US$ 150 billion in profits, two-thirds in the sex industry, followed by domestic work, agriculture and construction.

Rome (AsiaNews/Agencies) - About 11 million people in Asia are in forced labour, in the continent's growing sex trade, as domestics in rich households and in farming, this according to a study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Overall, some 21 million people worldwide are in forced labour, generating illegal profits of at least US$ 150 billion, far higher than previous estimates. And in view of the situation, the ILO wants governments to tackle the problem.

Over half of all forced labourers work in Asia, with 18 per cent in Africa and almost 10 per cent in Latin America.

"This new report takes our understanding of trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery to a new level," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

The ILO found that none of the illegal profits is going into workers' pockets or as tax revenue into state coffers.

The group noted that two thirds of the huge figure comes from the sex industry, with the rest primarily from domestic work, agriculture and construction.

The breakdown of profits includes US$ 99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation; US$ 34 billion from construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities; US$ 9 billion from agriculture, including forestry and fishing; and US$ 8 billion from private households not paying or underpaying domestic workers held in forced labour.

The ILO also admitted that much forced labour is controlled by organised crime networks and was very hard to combat.

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