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.
According to the latest report by the United Nations, one in every 130 females globally is living in modern slavery. The report titles "Stacked Odds" stated that 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), as per the UN report.
In Arab countries, nearly 40 per cent of females are victims of modern slavery. However, the numbers could be much higher as the estimates are impeded by lack of data on forced marriages and forced labour of domestic workers, the UN report said.
The report added that 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.
Further, the UN report suggested six points that must be included in the action plan to prevent the exploitation of women. According to the report, governments of all nations must criminalise all forms of modern slavery by reforming laws. Steps must be taken to abrogate child marriage, and education for girl children must be put on priority. Additionally, 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.
The report also recommended 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, the report added.