Modern-Day Slavery

The Facts

Join the fight to end slavery—Until all are free.


people are trapped in slavery right now

Join the fight to end slavery. #UntilAllAreFree

That's five times the population of New York City.

(Or the combined population of 80 countries.)

That's five times the population of London.

(Or the combined population of 80 countries.)

That's five times the population of Bangkok.

(Or the combined population of 80 countries.)

But what is slavery?

Slavery is the use of lies or violence to force another person to work for little or no pay.

IJM's largest rescue operation
Pictured: IJM’s largest rescue operation ever freed 564 people in India from slavery in a brick factory.

Children as young as 4 years old are being violently exploited as slaves.

Slavery is illegal almost everywhere. So why does it exist?

Millions of the world’s poor are trapped in slavery, because there’s no one there to protect them. In many places, the laws against slavery simply aren’t enforced by the police and courts—so slave owners and traffickers know they can prey on the poor without fear of any consequences at all.

Where Slavery is Most Prevalent

Map of the Earth highlighting countries where slavery is prevalent

See where we are already rescuing thousands from violence and abuse.

Learn More

Source: Global Slavery Index, 2016.

Slavery is a violent crime.

Slavery goes beyond just a bad working condition. People trapped in slavery live under constant control and fear. They face physical, verbal and sexual abuse daily, and cannot leave to find other work or protect their families. In IJM’s cases, we have met slaves who report being beaten, gang raped, locked in tiny rooms, starved and even witnessed murder.

The Internet



Cybersex trafficking is a growing and devastating form of modern-day slavery. It involves the live sexual abuse of children streamed via the internet, set up by adults who receive online payments from predators and pedophiles located anywhere in the world. We have rescued children as young as 2 years old in the Philippines who have been sexually abused in their own homes, sometimes by their own families.

Brick Kilns



Slaves in brick factories are forced to work 18 hour days molding, drying and hauling heavy clay bricks in the hot sun. In places like India, slave owners will use facilities like this one to trap entire families for generations, giving them no pay and no hope for escape.




Traffickers use brothels to exploit girls and boys for sex. The conditions in these brothels are harsh and extremely violent. IJM has rescued hundreds of girls from being sold in bars and brothels like this one.

Fishing Boats



Slave owners in places like Ghana often enslave young children on boats like these. The children are forced to untangle nets below the boats and have to fish long hours through the night. Many of the children get caught in the nets in the rough water and drown.

Tree-Cutting Facilities



Families take out small loans in exchange for work at a tree-cutting facility. The owner charges more and more false interest on their debts and they become trapped for years trying to repay him. Workers spend up to 12 hours cutting tons of wood, and then toil throughout the night to load the lumber for sale. In addition, they may suffer from abuse and harsh living conditions.

Quarries and Mines



Men and women, and sometimes even their children, work long hours in brutal conditions crushing boulders into smaller rocks to help pay down debt. The owners of the quarry engage in corrupt practices, using impossible interest rates and constant violence to keep families enslaved.

Slave owners prey on poor families seeking a better life


Gowri and her husband wanted to support their children and pay for their medical bills, so they took out a loan from a factory owner.

This turned out to be a trick, and the owner continually increased the loan, violently forcing the family to continue working long hours for him. This abuse continued for nearly 10 years, until IJM was able to send rescue. Today, the slave owner is standing trial, and the family is safe.

Watch Gowri’s Story


Gideon’s grandparents sent him to a man who promised to take care of him and help him go to school. Instead, the man enslaved Gideon* in a fishing boat on Lake Volta in Ghana.

Gideon’s grandfather was not wealthy enough to file charges against the slave owner, but early last year we were able to rescue Gideon and bring him home.

Watch Gideon’s Story


When Elsa* was 12 years old her father died, and her mother left. Elsa was determined to find work, save some money and support her brother.

A bar owner offered her a job that promised good pay. But it was a trap. The bar owner forced her into prostitution, and for years she faced violent abuse and sexual exploitation every single day. But now, Elsa is safe. She is a brave survivor of sex trafficking and describes herself as strong.

Watch Elsa’s Story

*A pseudonym

The End of Slavery—Until All Are Free

Modern-day slavery is as brutal as ever; more vast than ever, but more stoppable than ever.

Gary Haugen, IJM CEO

IJM is dedicated to ending slavery. We want you to understand what modern-day slavery is, and we want you to help us stop it.