Fifty million people around the world are stuck in modern slavery, which has been exacerbated by crises such as Covid-19, armed conflicts and climate change, the UN International Labour Organization says.
The number of people forced into modern forms of slavery by poverty and other crises has risen by a fifth in recent years to around 50 million on any given day.
More than a half of those had been forced to work against their will and the rest forced into marriage, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.
Both came under its definition of modern slavery as they involved people who "cannot refuse or cannot leave because of threats, violence, deception, abuse of power or other forms of coercion," it added.
The situation had been exacerbated by crises such as Covid-19, armed conflicts and climate change which had left more people in extreme poverty and forced more to migrate, the agency said.
"I think, by and large, that we simply relaxed our efforts. We've taken our eye off the ball when it comes to forced labour," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told Reuters news agency.
He called for improvements in recruitment practices and labour inspections.
He said trade measures, such as a ban on products and imports made with forced labour currently under review by the European Union, could also help.
Compared with the last count for the year 2016, the number of people in modern slavery has risen by around 9.3 million, the report said.
The ILO, which based its estimates partly on household surveys, found that more than half of all forced labour occurred in upper-middle income or high-income countries, with migrant workers more than three times as likely as locals to be affected.