Forced labour is the most prevalent form of modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia, according to new data published on Wednesday.
The rate of forced labour (3.6 per 1,000 people) in both regions — considered as one in the report — was higher than the rate of forced marriage (0.4 per 1,000 people).
The report, by the Walk Free Foundation, is billed as the world’s most comprehensive report on modern slavery.
It looks at various forms of modern slavery that include human trafficking, forced marriage, forced labour, forced sexual exploitation and use of children in armed conflict.
Of those in forced labour in Europe and Central Asia, more than a third (36%) were held in debt bondage.
The region also accounted for 14% of forced sexual exploitation worldwide.
However, the prevalence of forced marriage was the lowest out of all the world regions.
In the European continent, Belarus and North Macedonia — relative to their population size — have the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the region while Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine have the highest absolute number and account for over one-third (39%) of the victims in the region.
The trend was for countries in the eastern half of Europe to have higher rates of modern slavery.
Portugal had the highest prevalence in western Europe (2.5 victims per 1,000 inhabitants), however, Italy had the highest estimated absolute number of victims (145,000).