First Global Slavery Index Counts World’s Population Living In Modern Slavery

Written by on January 14, 2014 in Education, Non-Profit, poverty, Resources, World - 1 Comment

report-cover-sidebarThe world’s first ‘Global Slavery Index’ provides a shocking insight into the estimated numbers of people living in modern slavery. The Index ranks 162 countries, reflecting a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country. A number one ranking is the worst, 160 is the best.

The countries with the highest numbers of enslaved people are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Taken together, these countries account for 76 percent of the total estimate of 29.8 million in modern slavery. The country with the largest estimated number of people in modern slavery is India, which is estimated to be between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000. The India country study suggests that while this involves the exploitation of some foreign nationals, by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indians citizens within the country itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labour.

Unsurprisingly, the country with the second highest absolute numbers of enslaved is China, with an estimated 2,800,000 to 3,100,000. The China country study explains that this includes the forced labour of men, women and children in many parts of the economy, including domestic servitude and forced begging, the sexual exploitation of women and children, and forced marriage. The country with the third highest absolute number in modern slavery is Pakistan, with an estimated 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 people.

Iceland, Ireland and the U.K. are tied with a ranking of 160 in the Index. However, this does not mean these countries are slavery free. On the contrary, it is estimated that there are between 4,200 – 4,600 people in modern slavery in the U.K. alone. An analysis of the UK confirms much more can be done, as the Government response is fragmented and disjointed, and that there have been alarming systemic failures, including the loss of trafficked children from care.

The Index has been created by ‘The Walk Free Foundation’, which has a mission to end modern slavery in our generation by identifying the countries and industries most responsible for this social evil. In 2014, modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names: slavery, forced labour or human trafficking. Whatever term is used, the significant characteristic of all forms of modern slavery is that it involves one person depriving another people of their freedom: their freedom to leave one job for another, their freedom to leave one workplace for another, their freedom to control their own body.

Photo Credit: The Walk Free Foundation

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