Forced Labor in a Globalized World

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photoWhen we think of forced labor around the world, we think of a remote, shadow-world of exploitation — slavery in the Sudan, child sex-workers in Cambodia, indentured servants in the Middle East, and human-trafficking across borders everywhere.

A major new report from the UN's International Labor Office, released just this week, blows the lid off any notion that forced labor is a problem only of developing nations. The findings are startling.

In this modern, globalized world, forced labor is found on every continent, in every country, every economy. 12.3 million people are pressed into work against their will, 40-50 percent of them children, and 56 percent of them women. 43 percent of trafficking victims are forced into commercial sex work. And it all adds up to global profits, for traffickers, organized crime, and legitimate international business, half of which is flowing into Europe and the United States.

Hear a discussion at the modern impact and implications of forced labor and globalization.


Roger Plant, head of the Special Action Program to Combat Forced Labor at the International Labor Office

Terry Collingsworth, executive director of the International Labor Rights Fund

Regina Abrami, professor in business, government and international economy at the Harvard Business School, and a leading expert on globalization and international trade and labor standards in emerging markets and the developing world

Thomas Kochan, professor of management at MIT's Sloan School of Management, author of "The Transformation of American Industrial Relations," and former member of the Clinton Administration's Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations.

This program aired on May 16, 2005.


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