“Stacked Odds”: UN Report On Modern Slavery


On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, 2020 (11 October), the United Nations(UN) released a report titled “Stacked Odds” that highlights the scenario around the globe on modern slavery.

What is Modern Slavery?

  • Modern slavery is defined as the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, and abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation.

Finer Points of the Report

  • At least 2.9 crore women and girls across the world are victims of modern slavery, which includes forced marriages, debt-bondage, forced labour, and domestic servitude.
  • One in every 130 females globally is living in modern slavery.
  • 99 per cent of women/ girls are victims of forced sexual exploitation, 84 per cent are victims of forced marriage and 58 per cent are victims of forced labour.
  • Females are bigger victims of modern slavery as compared to males in Asia and Pacific (73 per cent), in Africa (71 per cent), in Europe and Central Asia (67 per cent) and in America (63 per cent).

Major Factors behind Modern Slavery according to the Report

  • Modern slavery is enabled by gender inequality and discrimination. For example, in many countries, girl children don't get access to medical care and education because of gender inequality, which pushes them to poverty.

What the Report Suggests to Nation States

  • The UN report suggested six points that must be included in the action plan to prevent the exploitation of women:
    • Governments of all nations must criminalise all forms of modern slavery by reforming laws.
    • Steps must be taken to abrogate child marriage.
    • Education for girl children must be put on priority.
    • Cultural norms must be challenged, such as male preference, restrictions on freedom of movement outside the home, and lack of control over finances and assets, which allow harmful and exploitative practices to continue.
    • Amending laws and policies that strip women of their rights, for example, inheritance rights, land ownership laws, and the Kafala system.
    • The governments must acknowledge the clear link between gender and risk of modern slavery in their gender and development programming and budgets.