According to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) latest report on modern slavery, forced labour and forced marriages have risen significantly by an estimated five times between 2016 and 2021. The report, titled Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, suggests that the number of modern slavery victims has now increased to 50 million, globally.The report states that now, 28 million people are trapped into forced labour, while 22 million were trapped in forced marriage. Women and children remain disproportionately vulnerable to this immense rise in modern slavery cases.Curiously enough, the report says that 52 per cent of all forced labour cases, and a quarter of all forced marriage cases are reported in upper-middle income or high-income nationsindicating that being a developed economy doesnt guarantee zero exploitation of the vulnerable.In the case of forced labour, the report says that 86 per cent is found in the private sector. Commercial sexual exploitation counts for 23 per cent of all forced labour, while 63 per cent of all forced labour is concentrated in sectors other than commercial sexual exploitation. Almost four out of five of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation are women or girls. Almost one in eight of all victims of forced labour are children, with their global number amounting to a whopping 3.3 million.When it comes to forced marriage, the report says that the true incidence of these cases, especially involving children aged 16 years or below, is likely to be far higher than estimates. This is also because child marriage is technically considered to be forced, since a child cannot legally give consent to marryand yet the practice is still prevalent in large parts of the world. Of those which have been captured in the reports estimates, 85 per cent forced marriages occurred due to family pressure. Almost 65 per cent of forced marriages were found to be centred in Asia and the Pacific, with the highest prevalence in the Arab States.The report recommends a number of actions which can help make significant progress towards ending modern slavery, if implemented swiftly and effectively. These actions include: Improving and enforcing laws and labour inspections, Ending state-imposed forced labour, Creating stronger measures to combat forced labour and trafficking, Extending social protections to the vulnerable, Strengthening legal protections for the vulnerable, including raising the legal age of marriage to 18, Address risks of trafficking for migrant labour, Promote fair and ethical recruitment policies, and Greater support for women, girls and vulnerable individuals.*Image used for representative purpose.