The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines the term “forced labor” as: “situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by subtler means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers, or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities.”
In 2014, the ILO reported that a total of 21 million men, women, and children from every region in the world were in forced labor and that almost half of them were migrants. The organization alleged that some 90 percent of victims were exploited in the private economy and estimated the annual value of illicit pro ts earned through forced labor globally as USD 150 billion. The ILO also reported that a full one-third of this figure stemmed out of the Asia-Pacific region, but more surprisingly, almost as much illicit gain was tied to developed economies and the European Union.
The majority of forced labor incidents captured and analyzed by RepRisk in the past two years relate to three main sectors: Food and Beverage, Personal and Household Goods, and Construction. The reputational risks associated with direct involvement in forced labor operations are blatant. However, end retailers and marketing partners can also come under very severe criticism if any part of their supply chain or any aspect of their project is found to be linked to incidents of forced labor.
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