In terms of absolute numbers, India remains the highest with an estimated 18.35 million enslaved people.
A global survey of 167 countries has found that today 45.8 million people – including men, women, and children – are living in some form of slavery. Of these, 58% of slaves live in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index released Monday by Walk Free Foundation – that aims to end modern slavery – reveals that India has the maximum number of slaves with 18.35 million people working in slavery.
According to the survey, these people are enslaved through human trafficking, child prostitution, forced labour, child labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, or commercial sexual exploitation.
Last year, United Nations (UN) officials welcomed the unveiling at the world body’s New York Headquarters of a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade which they acknowledged was one of the most horrific tragedies of modern history.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index further reveals that North Korea is the country with the greatest prevalence of modern slavery, with 4.37% of its population estimated to be enslaved. It is also the country with the weakest government response in terms of actions taken to combat modern slavery. The next highest prevalence of slavery is found in Uzbekistan (3.97%), followed by Cambodia (1.65%).
In terms of absolute numbers, India remains the highest with an estimated 18.35 million enslaved people, followed by China (3.39m), Pakistan (2.13m), Bangladesh (1.53m) and Uzbekistan (1.23m). Combined, these five countries account for almost 58% of the world’s enslaved, or 26.6 million people.
“Eradicating slavery makes sense, morally, politically, logically and economically,” said Andrew Forrest, chairman and founder of Walk Free Foundation.
He called on the governments of the world’s leading economies to provide an example to others by enacting and implementing robust anti-slavery measures.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 28% more people are enslaved than reported in the 2014 edition. This significant increase is due to enhanced data collection and research methodology.
Survey research for the 2016 included over 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages across 25 countries, including 15 state-level surveys in India. These representative surveys cover 44% of the global population.
According to the Global Slavery Index report, slavery exists in each of the 167 countries included in the Index.
The Global Slavery Index is stated to be a critical tool for governments, citizens, NGOs and businesses to end slavery. The methodology for the Index was developed through extensive consultations with an international and independent Expert Advisory Group.
The Walk Free Foundation says it has incubated a global movement of supporters with a shared vision to end modern slavery.
Photo courtesy: Global Slavery Index / Walk Free Foundation