Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight and is deeply intertwined with life in every corner of the world. Each day, people are tricked, coerced, or forced into exploitative situations that they cannot refuse or leave. Each day, we buy the products or use the services they have been forced to make or offer without realising the hidden human cost.

Modern slavery takes many forms and is known by many names — forced labour, forced or servile marriage, debt bondage, forced commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, slavery-like practices, and the sale and exploitation of children. In all its forms, it is the systematic removal of a person’s freedom — their freedom to accept or refuse a job, their freedom to leave one employer for another, or their freedom to decide if, when, and whom to marry — in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.

An estimated 50 million people were living in modern slavery on any given day in 2021. These Global Estimates of Modern Slavery produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Walk Free, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) form the starting point for the national estimates of modern slavery for 160 countries presented here in Walk Free’s flagship report, the Global Slavery Index (GSI). Our estimates draw on thousands of interviews with survivors collected through nationally representative household surveys across 75 countries and our assessment of national-level vulnerability. This report, the fifth edition of the GSI, shows how the compounding crises of the last five years have impacted modern slavery and provides a road map for actions to eradicate it.