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The right to be free of slavery is one of the most firmly established rights under international law.

The Global Slavery Index produces a yearly estimate of the number of people in slavery in the world and releases data concerning governmental efforts to end the practice.

In 2016, the International Labour Organization estimated nearly 21 million people were victims of forced labor across the world. Around 90% are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises. Of these, 22% are victims of forced sexual exploitation and 68% are victims of forced labor exploitation in economic activities, such as agriculture, construction, domestic work, or manufacturing. The other 10% are in state-imposed forms of forced labor, in prisons or work imposed by state militaries, or by rebel armed forces. Twenty six percent of victims are below 18 years.

Data concerning forced labor and human trafficking is hard to estimate because it is a largely hidden crime. The numbers can also vary dramatically depending on the definition of slavery.