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The Problem

Labor Trafficking

Slavery is illegal almost everywhere – but today, millions of children, women and men are trafficked and trapped in forced labor slavery around the world.

Traffickers and slave holders use deception, threats or violence to force vulnerable people into grueling labor or sexual exploitation for little or no pay. Individuals trapped in labor trafficking are often denied life necessities like adequate food or sleep. They are even prevented from leaving for school or urgent medical care.

In India, entire families are enslaved working in brick kilns, rice mills, garment factories and other places—some up to 20 hours per day. In the Dominican Republic, traffickers lure vulnerable women and children into sex trafficking with promises of school or a job, but then force them to sell their bodies over and over again. In the Philippines, the live-streaming of sexual exploitation – often involving very young children—is on the rise in the digital age.

False debts are commonly used to trap laborers in a cycle of debt that is by design impossible to pay back. Small advance payments accrue interest faster than it can be paid.

1 in 4 victims of forced labor trafficking is a child.

90% of forced labor takes place in the private economy — homes, businesses and supply chains.

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Our Solution

A Proven Community Protection Model

Though forced labor trafficking is illegal, the law is often not effectively enforced. Criminals expect no consequences, so they continue to enslave and abuse vulnerable people.

But when perpetrators face accountability for their actions, crimes are significantly reduced. The result? Safer communities where people can expect to be protected from exploitation and forced labor slavery.

Our Response

IJM combats forced labor trafficking in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, Romania and Thailand.

We don’t stop at rescuing people from violence and exploitation. Our goal is to take holistic action towards building a safer future by preventing violence from happening in the first place.

Together with our partners, we:

RESCUE VICTIMS: We identify people trapped in forced labor slavery, partner with local authorities to conduct rescue operations and ensure every victim is legally emancipated and receives government support.

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE: We advocate for police reports to be filed against traffickers, and support prosecution of slave holders.

RESTORE SURVIVORS: We create individualized care plans for each person to respond to trauma and pursue dignifying jobs and educational opportunities.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS: We provide hands-on mentoring for law enforcement, government officials and partner organizations. We also create social demand and advocate with state and national leaders to make ending slavery a top priority.

Our Results

IJM has spent more than 25 years partnering with law enforcement and justice system officials to combat some of the worst forms of violence.

We have proven over and over again that strengthening justice systems to enforce the law deters criminals and protects people from violence. That's two and a half decades of progress that wouldn’t have been possible without your support and the help of IJM partners. Take a look at the impact we made together.

IJM-supported operations have had a major impact on cases of forced labor trafficking globally. This is our progress so far (as of 2021).

Justice Review: A Journal of Protection and Justice for the Poor

IJM's Justice Review is a compendium of studies of forced, trafficked labor commissioned by International Justice Mission.

Read the study
Meet Suriya

Before he was enslaved, Suriya loved to dream.

Like most ten-year-old boys, Suriya was a dreamer. If you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, his answer might change depending on the day. A famous singer, an artist, a policeman, a pilot, a cricket player. When he dreamed about his future, the sky was the limit. Nothing felt out of reach.

But Suriya didn’t know a storm was coming, and his life was moments away from falling apart.

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Help protect vulnerable people from labor trafficking

Many people are trapped in forced labor slavery today. Others have escaped and are trying to heal. More yet are vulnerable to being trafficked at any moment.

You can help change that.

Learn more about our Casework

Violence Against Women and Children

Women and children are particularly vulnerable to violence when no laws are enforced to protect them.

Learn more about this article


Millions of men, women and children are trapped in modern-day slavery around the world.

Learn more about this article

Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

Learn more about this article

Police Abuse of Power

When police are free to misuse their power, vulnerable people are the ones who suffer from their violent actions and false accusations.

Learn more about this article

Media Contact

We're here to answer your questions. Please fill out the form below and someone from our team will follow up with you soon.

More Information

Petra Kooman

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
519.679.5030 x.229

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