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The modern day slave trade

The modern day slave trade

by Tim Large | @timothylarge | Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Trust Women 2012 conference, co-hosted by Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Herald Tribune, focused on the global scourge of trafficking and modern-day slavery. This video opened a plenary session looking at the millions of people worldwide caught up in lesser known forms of servitude outside the sex trade.

Exactly how many people are enslaved is impossible to know.

Estimates range from 27 million, cited by advocacy group, Free the Slaves, to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) figure of 20.9 million people - of which about 2.2 million are forced labourers of the state, for example, working in prisons.

While women and girls account for the greater share of 21st century slaves, coverage of their plight has been dominated by stories of sex trafficking and lurid tales of being forced to sell their bodies in brothels and on street corners.

Yet data from the ILO suggests that far more women and girls are victims of domestic servitude and other types of forced labour than they are of the sex trade.